Enjoying Scotland's Outdoors

In Scotland, you can enjoy the outdoors on most land and inland water - as long as you act responsibly and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Your access rights

Your rights of responsible access include things like:

  • Walking and cycling

  • Sightseeing and picnicking

  • Dog walking - provided your dog is under proper control

  • Swimming

  • Watching wildlife

But do not include:

  • Access with motor vehicles

  • Hunting

  • Shooting

  • Fishing

Places to go

Responsible Access can be enjoyed over most of Scotland including:

  • Parks
  • Hills and woods
  • Beaches and the coast
  • Lochs, rivers and canals

Exceptions include:

  • Houses and gardens
  • Other buildings
  • School grounds
  • Most land where crops are growing
  • Places which charge for entry

How to follow the code

Kids hugging a tree

Care for the environment

Dog walker with jobbie bags

Respect the interests of others

Hiker looking down a mountain

Be responsible for your own actions

Don't allow your dog to approach animals or people uninvited. Don't linger if wildlife is disturbed by your presence.

Don’t disturb or damage wildlife or historic places.
Don't linger if wildlife is disturbed by your presence.

Paths are shared with others. Be prepared to slow down or stop to let others pass.

Paths are shared with others - let people know you're coming so you don't alarm them. Slow down, stop or stand aside if needed. 

Many people work in the outdoors. Respect all reasonable requests to avoid busy working areas.

Respect the needs of others enjoying or working in the outdoors.
Follow any reasonable advice from land managers.

Don't block entrances, cause obstructions or damage verges when parking in Scotland's countryside. Always use a carpark if possible.

Park sensibly and do not create an obstruction. 
Remember to take your rubbish home with you.

Walking your dog

  • Do not allow your dog to approach animals or people uninvited (in open country, it may not be obvious when animals are around)
  • Where possible avoid animals - release your dog if threatened by cattle and don't linger if wildlife is disturbed by your presence
  • Always keep your dog in sight and under control – if in doubt use a lead
  • Don’t take your dog into fields of vegetables and fruit unless there is a clear path
  • Always bag and bin dog poo – take it home when bins aren’t available
Dog on a walk surrounded by autumnal leaves on the ground.

On farmland

  • Access rights don't usually apply to farmyards, but if a well-used path goes through a farmyard, you can follow this.
  • Leave gates as you find them.
  • Keep to unsown ground, field edges or paths.
  • Never let your dog worry or attack farm animals. 
  • Keep a safe distance from cattle. If they act aggressively, take the shortest safest route out of the field. If you have a dog, release it and let it find its own way to safety.

Be a responsible camper

Access rights in Scotland include responsible lightweight camping in tents, in small numbers and for two or three nights in any one place. Keep well away from buildings and roads.

  • Leave no trace of your campsite.
    Carry a trowel and bury your own waste. Urinate well away from open water, rivers and burns.
  • Use a camping stove. Never light open fires, barbeques or fire bowls in dry periods or near to forests, moorland, farmland, buildings or historic sites. Never cut down or damage trees.
  • Follow all local advice at high risk times and places.
If you need to light a fire, use a stove rather than an open fire.