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Recreation & Access Update Summary
Scottish Natural Heritage
Update 24 December 2004

Welcome to SNH’s Recreation and Access Update 24. Its purpose is to provide a general update on activities and projects related to SNH’s recreation & access responsibilities.

Throughout Update, for convenience, reference is made to three general terms:

The Act                       This refers to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

Access Legislation      This refers to Part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

The Code                    This refers to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

I would be grateful if you could circulate this edition to all relevant staff and colleagues.

The next edition of Update is due out in February 2005. If you would like to suggest future items for inclusion in this Update, please contact Fiona Cuninghame at, fiona.cuninghame@snh.gov.uk

Within this edition of Update:

Commencement date

The access legislation is expected to  commence in early February 2005.

Scottish Executive Guidance

Scottish Executive Guidance for Local Authorities and National Park Authorities was  laid before Parliament for a period of 40 days starting on 2 December 2004. 

The Code and introductory leaflet

Published versions will be available on the commencement date or shortly before launch.  

Amendment to sections 7(10) of the Act  in relation to woods and forests: 

A consultation on a draft order started in September and closed on 8 December.

Spring Access Week…

..takes place between 18 –  28  March 2005.

Access Website
Now up and running,  the website address is:

 Local Authority Funding
SNH have offered to make presentations to local authority senior staff and elected members on the implications of the Act and Code.

Core Paths Planning – further advice
SNH and the Paths for All Partnership will be developing further advice on core paths planning.   

SNH’s Signage Guidance for Land Managers
SNH is preparing guidance on advisory signs for  land managers.

Managing Access – new publications for land managers
News of two publications aimed at land managers,  one by SRPBA, the other by SNH.

National Access Forum Latest
A summary is provided of the two most recent National Access Forum meetings.

Disability Discrimination Act
On 1st October 2004 the final element of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) came into effect.

Codes of Responsible Behaviour
Key messages in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and the Countryside Code are briefly compared.

Paths for All Partnership
Latest progress and developments at Paths for All Partnership and Paths to Health.

Making the links – Greenspace and the Partnership Agreement
Information about a new publication that highlights links between greenspace and government priorities.

National Trust for Scotland – Training in Access
Details of two new training courses in delivering paths are included below.

Scottish Recreation Survey – 2003/04 Surveying Complete
SNH has extended the current contract to continue the ScRS and complete a second year of surveying during 2004.

News of staff changes in the access world. 

If you would like further information on any of the articles in this Update, please contact Fiona Cuninghame on 01463 706484 or e-mail fiona.cuninghame@snh.gov.uk

Recreation & Access Update 24: Detail

Part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, 2003:  Commencement date
Part 1 of the Act is expected to commence early in February 2005. The actual date and arrangements for a formal media launch by Ministers have yet to be announced. 

Scottish Executive Guidance for Local Authorities and National Park Authorities
The Executive’s Guidance on Part One of the Act has been laid in Parliament on 2 December for the required 40-day period.
The relevant statement can be read on the Scottish Parliament website, under Business Bulletin no.179/2004 for Monday 6 December, section H.  It states: “The following draft Guidance was laid before the Parliament on 2nd December 2004 and will be issued at the conclusion of 40 days unless the Parliament resolves otherwise –

Part 1 Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003: Draft Guidance for Local Authorities and National Park Authorities (SE/2004/276) laid under section 27 (4) (b) of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003”.

Publication of Scottish Outdoor Access Code 
Published versions of the Code and an introductory leaflet will be available on the   commencement date or shortly before.

Amendment to sections 7(10) of the Act in relation to woods and forests:  Section 8 of the Act provides for Ministers to modify by order the provisions of ss6 & 7 (Land over which access rights are not exercisable and supplementary provisions).  A consultation on a draft order started in September and closed on 8 December.

Spring Access Week
A Spring Access Week is being planned from 18 to 28 March. SNH is encouraging local authorities, partners and key national organisations to plan events which will help to raise awareness of access rights and responsibilities and to encourage enjoyment of the outdoors. SNH will coordinate and publicise a variety of events across the country. 

Access Website
The Access Website (outdooraccess-scotland.com) is now available on-line. It has  key pages for land managers, countryside users and recreation managers on a range of topics.  It is designed to have links to sites for national and local organisations.  We have also produced guidance on web design which may be of assistance to project officers and community groups who would like to have a link to the website. This guidance can seen at www.leap-frog.co.uk/internetaccess/index.html or under page 4.7 on www.outdooraccess-scotland.com

For more information contact Eleanor MacGregor.

Local authority funding
The overall Scottish Executive allocation of £8.1 million for 2005/06 to local authority Leisure and Recreation budget heads, is likely to remain the same, with the public spending review focussing on the years 06/07 and 07/08. The Scottish Executive, supported by CoSLA, are proposing that access funds for these years will not be identifiable in budgets, and that local authority departments leading on access should bid internally for funds on the basis of what they need to implement the new duties and powers. Local authorities are also encouraged to seek funding from sources other than Leisure and Recreation budgets, in recognition that access can contribute to many agendas.

Meanwhile, there are some indications from Ministers that there may be scope for improving the funding mechanism for 07/08 and beyond. On 14 December, CoSLA staff met with local authority staff representatives to discuss access funding.

During the Code consultation, SNH offered to make presentations to local authority senior staff and elected members to raise awareness of the new duties and powers and funding implications. Since then, this offer has been accepted by some local authorities with presentations being delivered to full Council meetings, Cabinet groups and to cross-sections of staff.  This offer still stands and SNH is particularly keen to influence key decision makers.

For more information contact Ron McCraw.

Core Paths Planning – further advice
Further advice is now being planned on core paths planning and implementation to supplement that in the Scottish Executive Guidance. The Paths for All Partnership seminar on core paths planning, on 1 December, provided an early opportunity to clarify any matters in the Executive’s Guidance and to identify key issues which the advice should address. SNH will progress the new advice in conjunction with the Paths for All Partnership. During the advice preparation, it is intended to invite comments from key groups to ensure that their interests are addressed.

For more information contact Ron McCraw.

SNH’s Signage Guidance for Land Managers
SNH is preparing  guidance on advisory signs for land managers for release early in the new year.  During the consultation on the draft Code, there were calls from land managers for clarification on the use of signage to help them work safely and effectively.

There is already a wealth of existing published advice on the use of signage in visitor management. The new guidance aims to complement this by focussing only on aspects that are most relevant in helping land managers, principally farmers and crofters, to integrate their work with the public’s use of access rights on their land.  As such, the guidance will only consider advisory signage and will look at:
         When to use a sign;
·         Where to site a sign;
·         Choosing the right sign and text.

It will not cover directional signposting and waymarking, promotional signs and interpretation, and mandatory health and safety signs required by statute.   Electronic copies of template signs will be provided which will be adaptable for different sites and activities.

A sub-group of the national Access Forum is involved in developing the guidance.

For more information contact John Walters.

Managing Public Access on Farms, Estates and Crofts
A study is underway to develop a planned approach to farm access management, especially advice on how to adopt practical solutions on the ground.  The advice will attempt to set out a step by step process by which land managers can undertake access management in a range of different situations.  It is intended that the proposed management solutions will be equally acceptable to both land managers and users and be appropriate to the setting and activities involved.

The publication will include advice on how to address the duty of care, issues relating to visitor risk assessment and subsequent hazard management.  The methodology will be tested on three case studies, covering a range of access issues on an individual farm, an estate and a croft.  Land managers will be closely involved throughout the study, and the methodology and outcomes will also be discussed with user groups. Some of the advice under development was presented at a Sharing Good Practice event on 16 November at Chatelherault Country Park. This workshop was for land managers, including farmers, estate managers, crofters and their advisors, and explored how best to plan for and manage recreation and access on land and inland waters.  Feedback from the event will help to shape the final product available towards the end of the year.

For more information contact Geoff Atkins.

Scottish Rural Property & Business Association  -  Publication in Preparation
Managing Access: Guidance for Owners and Managers of Land
Shortly to be available, this document provides guidance on practical access management. A series of graphically presented land management scenarios illustrates how access can be integrated with other land uses. The scenarios are supported by a comprehensive series of detailed fact sheets. The guidance has been designed so that land managers can refer directly to information relevant to their particular situation. Loose leaf format will allow updating as required.

For more information contact Janice Gray, SRPBA.

National Access Forum Latest
The National Access Forum met on 12 November to select a convener for the forum. Several candidates were in the running but after much deliberation Bob Reid, formerly of Aberdeen City Council, was chosen to act as the Forum’s convener. The Forum had recently

met on two other occasions. A meeting was held in August to discuss various versions of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. A selection of versions was tabled by SNH and members provided feedback and advice as appropriate. Comments were taken on board and will help to shape future Code publications. The Forum also met in September and considered a number of issues including an introduction to the Code for paddlers, prepared by the Scottish Canoe Association, the SNH access education programme and the preparation of guidance for land managers on signage.

For more information contact Mark Wrightham.

Disability Discrimination Act
On 1 October 2004 the final element of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) came into effect.  This requires service providers to remove or modify physical features to provide access for disabled people.  Alternatively they can provide a means of avoiding the feature or making the service available in some other way.  These new duties apply in respect of all disabled people and not just to the individual who comes across the feature.  Further information with practical examples is contained in SNH's Information and Advisory Note 156.

For more information contact Bob Grant.

Codes of Responsible Behaviour
New access legislation north and south of the border have required the preparation of new Codes. For England and Wales, the Countryside Agency and Countryside Council for Wales have jointly produced a new Countryside Code, whilst in Scotland, SNH has prepared the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which was approved by the Scottish Parliament on 1 July 2004.

There is some common ground between the two Codes as they address the key audiences of the public and land managers. However, there are also significant differences as they  are based on different legislation. 

In Scotland, the right of access is conditional on users behaving responsibly, and land managers have a reciprocal duty to conduct their management of land in a responsible manner.  The Scottish Outdoor Access Code will provide the detailed reference point if unresolved disputes are referred to the Sheriff Courts for determination.

In England & Wales, the new right of access for pedestrians, to mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land, has certain specified conditions, some of which are included in the Countryside Code, eg. people must not light or cause a fire, feed any animals, leave litter or do any damage. This Code states that visitors to “access land” are primarily responsible for their own safety, and for taking care of any children or dogs who accompany them. It also provides wider good practice guidance beyond the scope of the legislation.  Key messages in both codes are briefly compared below.

Guidance for the public

·         Take personal responsibility for your own actions

·         Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind

·         Help land managers and others to work safely and effectively

·         Care for your environment

·         Keep your dog under proper control

·         Take extra care if you are organising an event or running a business

England and Wales

·         Be safe – plan ahead & follow any signs

·         Leave gates and property as you find them

·         Protect plants & animals and take your litter home

·         Keep dogs under close control

·         Consider other people

Guidance for land managers


·         Respect access rights in managing your land or water

·         Act reasonably when asking people to avoid land management operations

·         Work with your local authority and other bodies  to help integrate access and land management

·         Take account of access rights if you manage contiguous land or water

England and Wales

·         Know your rights, responsibilities and liabilities

·         Make it easier for visitors to act responsibly

·         Identify possible threats to visitors’ safety

 For more information contact Bridget Dales.

Paths for All Partnership

1. Outdoor Access Strategies Guide

This 34-page guide, published jointly by SNH and the Partnership in June 2004, is intended for those who are involved in preparing or reviewing an outdoor access strategy.  It is available from PFAP and SNH offices and electronically at www.pathsforall.org.uk

2. Equestrian Access Factsheets
These factsheets have been produced by the British Horse Society in conjunction with SNH and the PFAP.  The 30-page document provides details on the principles associated with equestrian access, path construction, surfacing, gates, bridges, water crossings and road crossings.  The factsheets are available from PFAP offices or electronically at www.pathsforall.org.uk  In addition to these, a summary version has been produced for inclusion in the Lowland Path Construction Guide. This has been sent to those with a copy of the Guide.

3. Vision Document
The Partnership has recently produced a document which highlights the benefits that can derive from well designed, managed and promoted path networks.  These benefits are grouped under the headings of Health and Well-being, Strengthening Communities, Economic Development and Sustainable Transport.  In addition, the Vision Document outlines the Paths for All Partnership’s programme of activities for 2003-2006.  The Vision Document is available electronically at www.pathsforall.org.uk

4. Annual Review 2003-2004
The Partnership’s Annual Review for 2003-2004 in a revamped format is available from the PFAP offices or electronically at www.pathforall.org.uk

5. Bridges Guide
The Partnership is leading on the development of a new edition of the Bridges Guide to replace the original one produced by the Countryside Commission for Scotland in 1981.  The publication is being funded by the Partnership and SNH, with substantial technical contributions from the Forestry Commission Scotland.  It will be produced in a similar format to the Lowland Path Construction Guide.  Designers have now been engaged to work on the document, which is expected to be published early in 2005.

6. Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of the Paths for All Partnership was held on 27 October 2004.  Directors Ann Fraser and Priscilla Gordon-Duff retired by rotation and David Grosz resigned on the grounds of ill health. We would like to thank them for their work, support and encouragement over the last few years. The three Director positions were filled by Pat Somerville representing recreational interests, Robert Balfour representing land management interests and Ian McCall representing general interests.

7. Training and Development Programme
The Partnership’s training and development programme is available on the website. The recent Fundraising Fairs (Cairngorm and Alloa) were a great success with good feedback from all of those that attended. Places are still available on the Promotion and Marketing course and Path Survey, Design and Specification course in 2005. 

       New Funding
The £316,338 of additional funding from the Scottish Executive Health Department, reported in Update 23, has so far helped the establishment of further local schemes in Edinburgh (Sikh Sanjog - South Asian group, Pilton, Wester Hailes and Balerno), Grangemouth and Boness, Gorbals, Dundee University, Clackmannanshire, S. Coatbridge, Lockerbie, Stewartry and S. Lanarkshire.

Please contact the office if you wish any further details on these.  A small grant scheme has been launched offering grants up to £5,000. An application form, criteria and guidance are available to download from the website www.pathstohealth.org.uk   The Partnership has recently secured just over £900,000 further funding up to March 2006 from the Health Department to assist with delivery of the Physical Activity Strategy and Healthy Living Campaign. More details on implementation will be provided in the next Update.

2.       Networking Event
The Paths to Health Project held its second annual Networking Event on 28 September in Perth.  The event was highly successful and attracted 159 delegates. The event attracted sponsorship from the National Mental Health and Well-being programme which helped to reinforce the link between enjoying the outdoors and the well-being of Scotland’s communities.

3.       Annual Review
The Project’s Annual Review for the period 1 September 2003 to 30 August 2004 has been produced and is available from PFAP offices or by downloading from the website www.pathstohealth.org.uk

4.       Promotional Material
The Project has recently produced a large display and two pull-up displays on the theme of “Better health is measured in feet”.  The pull-up displays are available on request by contacting the Project staff at Tel: 01259-218855.

5. Training
933 Volunteer Walk Leaders have now been trained by the Project and demand is continuing to increase.  A Scheme Initiator course was delivered on 13/14 September. Another course will run in approximately 6 months time. Please contact the office if you are interested.

The following additional training is planned with support from the Scottish Executive:

·         ‘Next Steps’ - a course designed to train Volunteer Walk Leaders to lead more challenging walks into the countryside. This will include training in SOAC;

·         Promoting path use to the inactive - a marketing toolkit;

·         Volunteer support and development.

For more information contact Ian Findlay, Chief Officer, PFAP.

Making the links – Greenspace and the Partnership Agreement
This compact publication was launched by Greenspace Scotland on 18 September. It is a joint publication by Greenspace Scotland, SNH, Communities Scotland and NHS Health Scotland, and draws on a study examining research and case study evidence of the links between greenspace and people’s quality of life commissioned by a partnership of these organisations (see http://www.greenspacescotland.org.uk/upload/pdfs/makingthelinks.pdf).


Aimed at decision makers in the Scottish Executive, local authorities and other agencies, the booklet highlights how the provision of good quality greenspace, and community involvement in its planning and management, can support priorities set out in the Partnership Agreement for Scotland – including enterprise, transport, health, education and communities.

The booklet is now being distributed to key organisations across Scotland, including SNH staff involved in greenspace work.

For more information contact Catriona Morrison.

National Trust for Scotland – Training for Access
Early next year the National Trust for Scotland is running two access-related training courses:

1. Path Survey and Assessment  Course

15 March - 18 March 2005

The course will provide instruction in the practical side of path management, and comprise:

  • Analysis and evaluation skills for upland path construction
  • Assessment survey methods
  • Construction techniques to the required standards of the Upland Path Advisory Group
  • Preparation of footpath specification surveys
  • Appreciation of health & safety in remote locations.

There will be open discussion on technical problems and solutions.

 Course costs (£440) will include training, food and accommodation.

2.  Path Contract Management Course

18 October - 21 October 2005

This course is aimed at path managers and will provide instruction in:

  • The reasoning behind path management
  • Introduction to the Upland Path Advisory Group (UPAG) standards
  • Elements of survey and assessment
  • Contract procedures: pre-tender, delivery and review
  • Health & Safety responsibilities

There will be open discussion on problems and practical solutions.

Course costs (£440) will include training, food and accommodation.

For further information contact Chris Harris NTS.

Scottish Recreation Survey – 2003/04 Surveying Complete
In August 2004 the annual report for the Scottish Recreation Survey (ScRS) 2003/04 was received, completing the baseline survey of participation and attitudes to outdoor recreation amongst the Scottish Population. Results will be disseminated soon.

SNH has extended the current contract to continue the ScRS and complete a second year of surveying during 2004/05. Once again, we are pleased to be working with the Forestry Commission on this important project. Monitoring during this coming year will be particularly important to establish the snapshot of participation and attitudes to outdoor recreation at the commencement of access rights.

An important part of the ScRS is that it monitors awareness of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code amongst the general population. This, and other key results, will be delivered to us in a more user-friendly format in the near future.

For more information contact Graham Neville

Staffing News
Phil Waite leaves Scottish Borders Council to join Highland Council as the Access Officer for Ross and Cromarty area and Stewart Eastaugh, previously of Stirling Countryside Ranger Service, is to take up the position of access officer with Highland Council in the Inverness and Nairn area. Donald Kennedy and John Hutcheson have taken up access officer posts with Highland Council  for Skye and Lochalsh, and Lochaber respectively.

Recreation and Access Group has its own dedicated e-mail address. Internal staff can find it under the address book for SNH staff.

Partner staff are asked to use recreationandaccess@snh.gov.uk for general enquiries.

For other contacts in SNH:
Peter Hutchinson, Access Programme Manager (0131 446 2414)

Recreation and Access Group:
Alan Macpherson, Recreation & Access Group Manager (0131 446 2453)
Ron McCraw, Access Projects Manager
(0131 446 2416)
Rob Garner, Access Legislation Helpdesk
 (0131 446 2490)
Ashleigh Tooth, Update Co-ordinator
(01463 706485)
Bridget Dales, SOAC Coordinator 
(01738 444177)
Fiona Cuninghame (01463 706484)
Bob Grant (01463 706483)
Caroline Fyfe (01463 706486)
Graham Neville (01463 706482)
Jennifer Lothian (0131 446 2088)
Gordon West, Update Contacts Database
(0131 446 2066)

National Access Forum
Mark Wrightham (01463 667922)

Access Education Programme
Dougie Pollok (01738 458536);
John Walters ( 01463 72311)
Eleanor MacGregor (0141 951 4488)
Theresa Kewell (0141 951 4488)

Paths for All Partnership

Ian Findlay, Chief Officer (01259 218888)

Paths to Health:

Angela Hawkins and Jill Craigie, Development Officers (01259 218855) 

If you would like further information on any of the articles in this Update, please contact Fiona Cuninghame on 01463 706484 or email fiona.cuninghame@snh.gov.uk

Scottish Outdoor Access


See Also On Caithness.org
Land Issues
Walking In Caithness
Caithness Biodiversity Collection

Caithness Rangers
Caithness & Sutherland Map
Sutherland Biodiversity Plan

Other Links
Highland Wild Encounters