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Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Enjoying Scotland's outdoors responsibly

Access Rights

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives you some of the best access rights in the world. You have the right to be on most land and inland water for recreation, education and going from place to place, providing you act responsibly. Your access rights and responsibilities are explained in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

How to follow the Code

Take responsibility for your own actions

The outdoors is a great place to enjoy but it's also a working environment and natural hazards exist. Make sure you are aware of this, take care of yourself and others with you, including your dog.

Respect the interests of others

Respect the needs of other people enjoying or working in the outdoors and follow any reasonable advice from land managers. Respect people's privacy and peace of mind. Avoid causing alarm to people, especially at night, by keeping a reasonable distance from houses and gardens or by using paths or tracks.

Care for the environment

Our environment contributes greatly to everyone's health and quality of life so treat it with care. Take your rubbish home and consider picking up other litter as well. Don't disturb or damage wildlife or historic places. Keep your dog on a short lead or under close control where needed.

Getting out and about

Responsible access can be enjoyed over most of Scotland including:

  • Urban parks
  • Hills and woods
  • Most grass fields and field margins
  • Beaches
  • Lochs, rivers and canals

Access rights cover many activities including:

  • Informal pastimes such as walking, camping, picnicking and sightseeing
  • Active pursuits including cycling, mountaineering, canoeing and horse riding
  • Dog walking, provided your dog is under proper control
  • Taking part in recreational and educational trips
  • Simply going from one place to another

Places and activities not covered include:

  • Buildings and their immediate surroundings
  • Houses and their gardens
  • Most land where crops are growing
  • Motorised activities (unless for disabled access)
  • Hunting, shooting and fishing

Look out for other good practice advice about specific activities including:

  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Dog walking
  • Horse riding
  • Off road cycling