Scotland’s outdoors provides great opportunities for open-air recreation and education, with great benefits for people’s enjoyment, and their health and well-being. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 ensures everyone has statutory access rights to most of Scotland’s outdoors, if these rights are exercised responsibly, with respect for people’s privacy, safety and livelihoods, and for Scotland’s environment. Equally, land managers have to manage their land and water responsibly in relation to access rights.
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code provides detailed guidance on these responsibilities. The Code provides a practical guide to help everyone make informed decisions about what best to do in everyday situations, and provides the starting point for short best practice guides and more detailed advice about land and inland water.
Principles – the Code is based on three key principles:
• Respect the interests of other people.
Acting with courtesy, consideration and awareness is very important. If you are exercising access rights, make sure that you respect the privacy, safety and livelihoods of those living or working in the outdoors, and the needs of other people enjoying the outdoors. If you are a land manager, respect people’s use of the outdoors and their need for a safe and enjoyable visit.
• Care for the environment.
If you are exercising access rights, look after the places you visit and enjoy, and leave the land as you find it. If you are a land manager, help maintain the natural and cultural features which make the outdoors attractive to visit and enjoy.
• Take responsibility for your own actions.
If you are exercising access rights, remember that the outdoors cannot be made risk-free and act with care at all times for your own safety and that of others. If you are a land manager, act with care at all times for people’s safety.
Find out more
Scottish Outdoor Access Code - Part 1 Introduction
Scottish Outdoor Access Code - Part 2 Access rights
Enjoy Scotland's Outdoors - leaflet and poster
Know the Code before you go leaflet (other languages)