Renfrewshire Council

Outdoor access

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives us all a legal right of responsible access to most land and inland water in Scotland.

You can take access by any means as long as it is not motorised. The only exception to this is that someone may use a vehicle which has been adapted for use by people with disabilities.

Whilst you can now access lots of outdoor areas, there are still some places where you cannot go including:

  • buildings and other structures
  • the curtilage of properties including farmyards
  • gardens and formal grounds around buildings to provide privacy
  • private gardens in common ownership
  • school grounds
  • land developed or set out as a sports field
  • land in which crops have been sown or are growing (but you can access the field margins)
  • land where you had to pay for entry before the new law was passed
  • quarries, and
  • golf tees and greens.

Some things you can't do under access rights:

  • Hunting, shooting or fishing
  • Being on land with a dog which is not under proper control
  • Taking things away from the land for commercial purposes or for profit
  • Being on land with a motorised vehicle (unless adapted for use by a person with a disability)

Exemption of land from the right of access

Councils can exempt some land from access rights. The main reasons for doing this would be if an event was being held on a piece of land and an entry fee charged, such as an agricultural show.

If you think that you may need to close an area of land for an event, contact Planning and Transport.

Know the access code

You should get to know the Scottish Outdoor Access Code so that you understand what your rights and responsibilities are. 

The key to the access legislation is responsibility

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 expects land managers to manage their land responsibly to allow for access, but the public exercising their access rights must also behave in a responsible manner.

The Code is based on three key principles and these apply equally to the public and land managers.

Respect the interests of other people

  • Access takers - respect, privacy, safety and livelihood of those living and working outdoors.
  • Look after the places you visit and enjoy, and leave the land as you find it.

Care for the environment

  • Look after the places you visit and enjoy, and leave the land as you find it.
  • Land manager - help maintain the natural and cultural features which make the outdoors attractive to visit and enjoy.

Take responsibility for your actions

  • Access Taker -Remember the outdoors cannot be made risk free and act with care at all times for your own safety and that of others.
  • Land manager, act with care at all times for people's safety.

You can get more information on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website. Know the Code before you go.

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