Helping us get outdoors with good design

Scotland has some of the best outdoor access legislation in the world – but those who own or manage the land sometimes need advice and support on how to make sure we can all best access Scotland’s wonderful countryside.

Dumbreck Marsh Nature Reserve. ©George Logan/SNH

Dumbreck Marsh Nature Reserve. ©George Logan/SNH

That’s why a new guide – launched by Paths for All and SNH on 17 March – on how to select and design gates, fences, boardwalks and other structures which aid access is welcome news. The guide is designed for access professionals, rangers, planners, surveyors and community groups, and should make it easier for all of us to access the outdoors.Outdoor Access Design Guide cover.

For example, putting a boardwalk over boggy land can make access easier for people with pushchairs or limited mobility. It also encourages the public to use certain routes, can protect important habitats and might help to keep visitors boots clean! So there’s benefits for both the public and the land manager.

To ensure equal access to everyone who wants to spend time outdoors in nature, we need well-designed access infrastructure. We hope these design standards will allow even more people – of all ages and abilities – to use Scotland’s paths, routes and greenspaces ,whether they’re walking, cycling or riding a horse. This, in turn, benefits communities, the environment and the health and wellbeing of people in Scotland.

The refreshed Outdoor Access Design Guide brings together widely sourced designs, which are tried, tested, and regularly used throughout Scotland to manage outdoor access.  The guide is available to download on the Paths for All website . For more information, contact

Paths for All can also offer advice and support for professionals and community groups that need extra support to design access infrastructure. Visit the website to download useful resources and see upcoming training courses at

There are also other useful resources such as downloadable sign templates for land managers on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website.


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