In 2005 the laws relating to countryside access changed giving people greater access to the wide open spaces of Scotland. Lanarkshire is home to a diverse range of native wildlife and some wonderful scenery which is now closer than ever before. Greater access allows even more people to enjoy the Lanarkshire countryside in a variety of different ways; whether it's walking, cycling or horse riding there's space for everyone to enjoy themselves.
Here are some tips from the Scottish Outdoor Access Network to make sure you stay safe and know your responsibilities to others while you enjoy a day out in some of Lanarkshire's beautiful countryside:
1. Take personal responsibility for your own actions. You can do this by:
- caring for your own safety by recognising that the outdoors is a working environment and by taking account of natural hazards;
- taking special care if you are responsible for children as a parent, teacher or guide to ensure that they enjoy the outdoors responsibly and safely.
2. Respect people's privacy and peace of mind. You can do this by:
- using a path or track, if there is one, when you are close to a house or garden;
- if there is no path or track, by keeping a sensible distance from houses and avoiding ground that overlooks them from close by;
- taking care not to act in ways which might annoy or alarm people living in a house; and
- at night, taking extra care by keeping away from buildings where people might not be expecting to see anyone and by following paths and tracks.
3. Help land managers and others to work safely and effectively. You can do this by:
- not hindering a land management operation, by keeping a safe distance and following any reasonable advice from the land manager;
- following any precautions taken or reasonable recommendations made by the land manager, such as to avoid an area or route when hazardous operations, such as tree felling and crop spraying, are underway;
- checking to see what alternatives there are, such as neighbouring land, before entering a field of animals;
- never feeding farm animals;
- avoiding causing damage to crops by using paths or tracks, by going round the margins of the field, by going on any unsown ground or by considering alternative routes on neighbouring ground; and by
- leaving all gates as you find them.
4. Care for your environment. You can do this by:
- not intentionally or recklessly disturbing or destroying plants, birds and other animals, or geological features;
- following any voluntary agreements between land managers and recreation bodies;
- not damaging or disturbing cultural heritage sites;
- not causing any pollution and by taking all your litter away with you.
5. Keep your dog under proper control. You can do this by:
- never letting it worry or attack livestock;
- never taking it into a field where there are calves or lambs;
- keeping it on a short lead or under close control in fields where there are farm animals;
- if cattle react aggressively and move towards you, by keeping calm, letting the dog go and taking the shortest, safest route out of the field;
- keeping it on a short lead or under close control during the bird breeding season (usually April to July) in areas such as moorland, forests, grassland, loch shores and the seashore;
- picking up and removing any faeces if your dog defecates in a public open place.
6. Take extra care if you are organising an event or running a business. You can do this by:
- contacting the relevant land managers if you are organising an educational visit to a farm or estate;
- obtaining the permission of the relevant land managers if your event needs facilities or services, or is likely, to an unreasonable extent, to hinder land management operations, interfere with other people enjoying the outdoors or affect the environment;
- talking to the land managers who are responsible for places that you use regularly or intensively.