Excellent result in long-running Penicuik access dispute

Ramblers Scotland has congratulated Midlothian Council on winning an important, long-running legal case, which upholds the public’s rights to access Penicuik Estate via Cairnbank Road. 

In June 2016, landowners blocked the popular route into the estate with a high, impregnable barrier painted with anti-vandal paint, alongside a CCTV camera.

Following more than 100 public complaints and conversations with Ramblers Scotland and other recreation bodies, the council served a notice on the landowner in February 2017 to remove the obstruction and signage, under Section 14 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act.

The landowners appealed to the Sheriff Court, but Sheriff Fiona Lennox-Reith QC ruled in favour of Midlothian Council on 6 September 2018.

Ramblers Scotland’s campaigns and policy manager Helen Todd said: “We warmly congratulate the council and all those who campaigned to achieve this excellent result, which upholds public access to a beautiful estate via a popular route. 

“I hope the Sheriff’s robust judgement will serve as a reminder that it is landowners’ duty to manage their properties in a way that respects Scotland’s world-class rights of public access.

“We hope to see the route re-opened as soon as possible, and that this marks the end of this expensive and avoidable dispute.” 

You can read the full 125-page judgment, which the landowners may appeal, here.

Ramblers Scotland has a friendly local Midlothian group, which meets on most Sundays throughout the year, offering a wide range of walks for all grades. If you would like to join them on a walk, view their programme here