Access Code

SOAC LogoKnow the Code before you go …
Enjoy Scotland’s outdoors – responsibly!

Everyone has the right to be on most land and inland water providing they act responsibly. Your access rights and responsibilities are explained fully in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

  • take responsibility for your own actions;
  • respect the interests of other people;.
  • care for the environment

Find out more by visiting or phoning your local Scottish Natural Heritage office.

The following is an extract from ‘Know the Code before you go’ leaflet prepared by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Know the Code

Access rights come with responsibilities which are fully explained in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, though the main thing is to use common sense. You need to take responsibility for your own actions, respect the interests of others and care for the environment – what does all this mean?

Take responsibility for you own actions

The outdoors is a great place to enjoy but it’s also a working environment and has many natural hazards. Make sure you are aware of these and act safely, follow any reasonable advice and respect the needs of other people enjoying or working in the outdoors.

Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind

Privacy is important for everyone. Avoid causing alarm to people, especially at night, by keeping a reasonable distance from houses and private gardens, or by using paths or tracks.

Help farmers, landowners and others to work safely and effectively

Keep a safe distance from any work and watch for signs that tell you dangerous activities are being carried out, such as tree felling or crop spraying.

You can also help by:

  • leaving gates as you find them;
  • not blocking or obstructing an entrance or track;
  • looking for alternative routes before entering a field with animals;
  • not feeding animals;
  • using local advice so that you can take account of shooting and stalking;
  • not damaging fences or walls; and by…
  • avoiding damage to crops by using paths and tracks, by using the margins of the field, or by going over ground that hasn’t ‘t been planted.

Care for the environment

Our environment contributes greatly to everyone’s quality of life and health. It’s important that you:

  • follow any reasonable advice and information;
  • take your litter home;
  • treat places with care, leaving them as you find them;
  • don’t recklessly disturb or intentionally damage wildlife or historic places

Keep your dog under proper control

If you have a dog with you, it’s very important that it doesn’t worry livestock or alarm others. Don’t let it into fields with calves or lambs, and keep it on a short lead or under close control when you’re in a field with other animals. If cattle react aggressively to your dog, let go of it immediately and take the safest route out of the field. Take care to ensure that you or your dog don’t disturb breeding birds. Pick up your dog’s faeces if it defecates in any place where it is likely to cause concern to other people.