The Scottish Outdoor Access Code

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) came in to effect in February 2005. The introduction of this Code means everyone has a right to be on most land and inland water for recreation, education and for going from place to place providing they act responsibly.

The Code has 3 key principles for responsible access which applies to both the public and land managers:

Respect the interests of other people: Be considerate, respect privacy and livelihoods and the needs of those enjoying the outdoors.

Care for the environment: Look after the places you visit and enjoy. Care for wildlife and historic sites.

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.

Recreational users of the countryside should visit the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website to help you understand your responsibilities under the new SOAC. The information on this website helps all user groups to raise awareness and understanding of - 

The nature and extent of access rights

Your responsibilities under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

How responsibilities apply to common situations in the outdoors

What to do if you encounter irresponsible behaviour

What you should know about farming

Information on recreation activities and links to other sites