The Countryside Code for Walkers and Cyclists

Walkers are advised to ensure they wear appropriate footwear and clothing for the weather and conditions, to carry mobile telephones, to let someone know your start and expected return times, and are asked to respect the ways of the countryside:

  • be safe and plan your trip,
  • close gates behind you,
  • do not leave any litter,
  • do not disturb any animals or flora (protect the environment),
  • respect the rights of others.

In the past, Scottish tradition allowed walkers to ramble with freedom and without “trespassing”, which people from other countries found refreshing and liberating. This tradition was built on the mutual respect for property and the recognition of the right of everyone to enjoy our wonderful countryside.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code

To reinforce these rights and responsibilities, since 2005 The Scottish Outdoor Access Code has given detailed guidance on responsibilities when exercising access rights. The Code sets out where and when access rights apply.

The three key principles for responsible access apply:

  1. Respect the interests of other people:
    Be considerate, respect privacy and livelihoods, and the needs of those enjoying the outdoors.
  2. Care for the Environment:
    Look after the places you visit and enjoy. Care for wildlife and historic sites.
  3. Take responsibility for your own actions:
    The outdoors cannot be made risk-free for people exercising access rights; land managers should act with care for people’s safety.