Get to know the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Monika Reichelt

With the spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, we now have more opportunities to enjoy Scotland's great outdoors - it's a good time to remind ourselves about our rights and responsibilities outlined in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

The code is based on three core principles:

  • Respecting the interests of others
  • Caring for the environment
  • Taking responsibility for your own actions

It's important to look after the spaces we're using as others may use them too and because we need to ensure they're kept safe and clean. This means that whether you just jog around your local area, go for picnics with family in your nearest park, or like to venture a bit further afield, it's important that you are familiar with the rules.

Scottish access rights apply, for example, to hills and moors, forests and woods, beaches and the coast, rivers and lochs, parks and some types of farmland. There are also some common-sense exceptions, including houses and gardens, other buildings and their yards or compounds, school grounds and places which charge for entry. Access rights include things like walking, cycling, climbing, horse-riding, kayaking, swimming and watching wildlife, but do not include things like shooting, fishing or access with motor vehicles. 

Young Scot and Nature Scot have created 12-part animated video series explaining the different parts of the code covering things like your outdoor access rights, places you can use, literring, respecting local wildlife, walking your dog and more.

You can watch them all on the Young Scot website, or to find out more about the code, please visit this section on Nature Scot.