Recreation policy

Our approach to recreation is outlined in four statements: Enjoying the outdoors, Paths, Rangers, and Parks and reserves.

Enjoying the outdoors

Read about Enjoying the outdoors – supporting participation and sharing the benefits

Outdoor recreation can help to meet the Scottish Government’s national objectives set for health, the economy and the natural environment. Enjoying the outdoors describes how we promote wider participation in outdoor recreation, including through our work with local authorities, land managers and recreation bodies.

Our key priorities are that:

  • all of Scotland’s people should share the benefits of enjoying the outdoors
  • path networks and greenspace should be developed close to settlements to give communities across Scotland opportunities to enjoy the outdoors
  • responsible use of the outdoors must be promoted on an ongoing basis
  • provision for enjoying the outdoors should be well managed, effectively integrated with other land uses, and meet the needs of all interests
  • enjoying the outdoors should be seen as important to people’s quality of life and championed


Read about Paths – linking people, places and nature

Our vision for paths, published in 2010, is that paths are better promoted and used by everyone more regularly – particularly by new users.

To ensure this:

  • local paths should be in the right place, in good condition and attractive to all users
  • a more coherent network of long distance routes should be available to more people
  • improvements should be made to upland paths to protect our finest mountain landscapes and provide sustainable access
  • there will be appropriate and targeted funding for the above

The Central Scotland Green Network will include a strategic network of walking and cycling routes. We've worked with local authorities and other partners to develop a map showing current and potential future routes. Local authority planners and others can use this to guide their work to enhance existing routes, address missing links and improve connections.


Read about Rangers in Scotland

Our vision for Scotland’s rangers, which we published in 2021, recognises that they’re well placed to deliver a greener and healthier Scotland.

Parks and reserves

Read about Parks and reserves – places managed for people and nature

Our 2012 statement sets out a vision and strategic action for Scotland’s parks and reserves.

These places provide a wide variety of settings and opportunities for enjoying the outdoors. As such, they make an important contribution to the Scottish Government’s priorities on health, well-being and tourism. They’re also important for sustainable economic growth in many parts of Scotland.

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