Poll shows huge demand for investment in paths

Ramblers Scotland says paths are key to more people enjoying our outdoors

Ahead of tomorrow’s 15th anniversary of Scotland’s world-class access legislation, new figures have shown huge demand for developing the nation’s path network.

The survey found that three out of four adults believe more people would enjoy Scotland’s outdoors if more paths were on the ground, and on maps. 

Read the full results here

To mark 15 years of the Land Reform Act, Ramblers Scotland commissioned ScotPulse to survey 1,444 adults across the country. The survey found that:

  • 75% believe more people would enjoy our outdoors if more paths were on the ground, and on maps
  • After time pressure and ‘Scottish weather’, poorly-maintained paths is the biggest barrier to getting outdoors
  • Only half of people understand where they are legally allowed to walk
  • Younger people in particular lack walking partners, and knowledge of where to walk.

Edinburgh Young Walkers enjoying an excellent path at Ben A'an in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs NP. 

Ramblers Scotland played an integral role in the campaign that led to the passing of Scotland’s iconic Land Reform Act on 23 January 2003. The Act secured the rights of walkers, climbers, horse-riders, cyclists and paddlers to access the vast majority of Scotland, provided they do so responsibly.  

Ramblers Scotland said the survey showed the potential for walking to play a bigger role in boosting the country’s health and wellbeing. It has launched a campaign called Out There, which aims to get more paths on the ground, and on maps – and to make it easier for everyone to enjoy the outdoors.

Ramblers Scotland director Jess Dolan said: “15 years since the passing of the Land Reform Act, there is so much to celebrate. Scotland is now firmly at the top of the access charts. 

“However, this survey emphasises the need to make it much easier for everyone to benefit from our world-class access rights. That’s why we’ve launched our new Out There campaign, to get more paths on the ground and on maps – and break down barriers to our amazing outdoors.”

Back in 2003, the Scottish Parliament had intended the Land Reform Act to kick-start an expansion of path networks, by creating a duty for all local authorities to draw up ‘core paths plans’ to show their most important routes. However, this process did not lead to core paths being attributed on Ordnance Survey maps and very few new paths were created.

Last year, more than 1,100 people supported Ramblers Scotland’s ongoing call for all 20,000km of core paths to be designated on OS maps.