Countryside access and rights of way

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code came into effect in February 2005.

The act establishes a statutory right of responsible access to land and inland waters for:

  • outdoor recreation
  • crossing land
  • some educational and commercial purposes

The Act sets out where and when access rights apply. Access to the countryside is contained in part 1, chapters 1-6 of this act.

Permitted activities include:

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code gives detailed guidance on your responsibilities when exercising access rights and if you are managing land and water.

Core paths plan

Under chapter five (section 17) of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 we had a duty to create a core paths plan.

This system of paths includes:

  • rights of way
  • paths, footways, footpaths and cycle tracks
  • other routes or waterways

You can view the core paths plan on our map.

Local Access Forum

Local access forums are statutory advisory bodies which aim to deliver a balanced representation of land managers, participants in outdoor access, communities and public agencies.


The aim of the forum is to provide advice on outdoor access in the Scottish Borders to us and through us to other persons or bodies who wish to consult the forum.


  • act as the local access forum for Scottish Borders and to undertake the functions of that body
  • advise us on strategic access issues
  • promote responsible access through the Scottish Outdoor Access Code
  • promote the sharing of knowledge, awareness, and good practice in access
  • offer us advice which will assist in resolving access problems

The Scottish Borders access forum meets quarterly and you can view the most recent quarterly minutes.

Previous minutes are available from the Access team upon request.

Path closures

Unfortunately some paths may be closed for short periods of time, before you go check for any path closures.

View maps of current path closures View Scottish Borders routes and maps

Ranger service

Address: Council Headquarters
Newtown St. Boswells

Telephone: 01835 825070