Scottish Land and Estates – Access Advice

Since 2005 the public have access rights to most land and inland water, subject to behaving responsibly. The Act defines responsible behaviour for those taking access as not unreasonably interfering with the rights of others.  The Act also places obligations on landowners to manage land and inland water in ways that take proper account of the right of responsible access.  The Scottish Outdoor Access Code gives guidance to both access takers and land managers on how the requirement to behave responsibly can be achieved.  This includes brief advice to those organising events which will utilise access rights.

The National Access Forum has recently produced a more detailed document, based on the Code’s advice, entitled “Outdoor events in Scotland:  guidance for organisers and land managers”, which is accessible via their catalogue search – enter the search term “outdoor events”.  Contributors to this guidance comprise organisations representing both recreational and land management interests, along with SNH.  This includes Scottish Land & Estates (formerly the SRPBA), the organisation that represents the interests of land-based businesses in Scotland.

This document provides clear advice as to when permission is required for access.  It is standard practice for all orienteering events to liaise with the landowners and agree the date of the event;  any restrictions in access eg. shooting;  sensitive areas and restrictions eg. SSSI, protected species;  parking arrangements;  copy of British Orienteering insurance cover and so on.

Landowners rarely request formal agreements as such, and the good name of orienteering in Scotland and “referrals” to other landowners will usually suffice.

Please contact Colin Matheson, SOA Professional Officer, if there are any issues.

Anne Gray is Policy Officer (Access) for Scottish Land & Estates;  e-mail her ( or telephone her on 0131 653 5400 should you need to contact the organisation direct.

Further links related to access are on the Access Links page.