Tread Lightly in the Park – your guide to acting responsibly

Scotland has some of the most progressive and inclusive access legislation in Europe. In a nutshell you have a right of access to the majority of land and water in the National Park – providing you are behaving responsibly. 

That means caring for the environment, respecting other people and taking responsibility for your own actions. There are a few exceptions, particularly in relation to residential property where personal privacy is important.

Find out more with advice for different activities and information about the Scottish Outdoor Access Code 


Dogs on leads

A number of rare and endangered birds, including the capercaillie, nest on the ground. Simply by roaming around off the path, dogs will scare birds off the nest, separate the chicks from the hen and some will instinctively catch birds. Keeping your dog on a lead in sensitive areas between April and August is one of the most important things you can do to help protect wildlife. Look for signs telling you where the sensitive areas are.


Walking in the mountains

The Cairngorm plateau is an exceptionally fragile environment forming a habitat for many sensitive upland plants so please stick to paths. rare birds such as dotterel and ptarmigan nest here and are vulnerable to disturbance from dogs, so please observe the advice on dogs above. Leaving litter will attract crows, and crows will eat the young chicks of rare mountain birds like the dotterel. Please take all litter and food scraps home with you.

Much of the Cairngorms are managed for deer stalking. Have respect for other peoples’ enjoyment of the hills by staying on the main paths and not disturbing stalking. Information on what’s happening when and where can be found at Heading for the Scottish Hills


Wildfire risk

The forests of the Cairngorms are the most extensive and well connected native woodlands in Britain. A wildfire outbreak could be catastrophic. As a rule, avoid lighting an open fire and never during and after prolonged dry spells, on peaty ground or in forests; tread lightly by using a stove.

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