Your Rights and Responsibilities

Find out about your access rights and responsibilities.


Man Walking DogAccess rights apply to most land and inland water in Scotland for non-motorised activity including walking, cycling, horse riding and canoeing.

There are some areas where access rights do not apply, including:

  • Non-residential buildings and structures and closely associated land
  • Houses and sufficient adjacent land to provide reasonable privacy
  • Land around any school and land used by the school
  • Compounds and building sites
  • Sports and playing fields when in use
  • Land developed or set out for a particular recreational purpose; although you may cross a golf course (excluding greens) avoiding interrupting play
  • Grassland grown for hay or silage if it is at a late stage of growth and would be damaged by access
  • Land on which crops have been sown or are growing although field margins whether sown or unsown are not defined as crops.

There is an exception to these exclusions if a route is a Right of Way. More information about Rights of Way in Scotland can be obtained from Scotways


People only have access rights if they exercise them responsibly. These responsibilities include:

  • Being aware of the rights of others to enjoy the countryside
  • Respecting others privacy and peace of mind
  • Helping farmers, landowners and others to work safely and effectively in the countryside
  • Caring for the environment by being aware of the impact you might have on the places you visit
  • Following any reasonable information and advice and take responsibility for your own actions

Land managers are obliged to manage their land in a way that respects and protects responsible access rights.

Further guidance

Detailed guidance for access users and land managers is contained on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website.

View guidance leaflets on responsible outdoor access.

Specific advice is also available from specialist organisations;