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Responsible access during Covid-19 situation


This is a crucial time of year for the farmers in the Pentlands. It has never been more important to comply with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

We are lucky in Scotland to have our rights of responsible access to most land. The most important part to emphasise here is that these rights depend on responsible behaviour. Responsible behaviour during the Covid19 pandemic extends to include the new Scottish Government guidance

  • stay local - please do not travel in your car to take exercise; please make use of the paths, open spaces and quiet roads in your local area (parts of the Regional Park are already much busier than normal with people taking exercise from nearby settlements such as Balerno, Currie, Bonaly and Penicuik. We cannot afford a repeat of the events of 21-22 March, when large numbers of people descended on the Park, with dozens of vehicles parked dangerously on busy roads. All car parks are closed, and Police Scotland are assisting us in ensuring they are not being used, and that surrounding areas are not used for parking. The Pentland Hills Regional Park is unique in being a farming and recreational landscape immediately adjacent to a large conurbation, and the health of its inhabitants (humans, livestock and wildlife!) is paramount. Thank you for staying safe, and staying home)
  • maintain social distancing – stay at least 2m away from other people – including people who are working in the outdoors – and try to avoid popular paths or places at busy times. Be prepared to slow down or stop if needed to maintain the necessary distance from others. If you meet other people on a narrow path, pass quickly but courteously, leaving as much space as possible
  • avoid touching surfaces like gates as much as possible – try to plan a route that does not require you to open gates. Wash your hands or gloves as soon as you get home. If you carry a disinfecting spray, you could spray gate handles before and after use.
  • avoid fields with young calves or lambs - go into a neighbouring field or onto adjacent land
  • avoid fields with growing crops unless there is a clear path or field margin (remember that newly planted crops may not yet be obvious)
  • remember that Government rules specifically allow exercise rather than activities such as sunbathing or picnicking

For everyone:

  • take away all your litter
  • leave gates as you find them
  • respect the interests of farmers and others working the land – please follow all reasonable requests and signs that ask you to avoid places such as farmyards, fields with pregnant or young livestock, and other busy working areas

If you have a dog:

  • keep it on a lead or close at heel on farmland. Scottish Government guidance for companion animals and livestock indicates that dogs from self-isolating households should be kept on a lead at all times, avoiding contact with other people and animals
  • do not allow your dog to approach animals or people uninvited (in open country, it may not be obvious when animals are around)
  • where possible avoid animals - release your dog if threatened by cattle
  • always keep your dog in sight and under control – if in doubt use a lead
  • pick up and remove all waste

Published: 17th April 2020