Walkers and other outdoor fans should be mindful of those working in the countryside. Photo: Lorne Gill/SNH

Walkers and other outdoor fans should be mindful of those working in the countryside. Photo: Lorne Gill/SNH

The Scottish Government’s advisory body on the outdoors has issued updated guidance on responsible access during the Covid-19 restrictions.

Scottish Natural Heritage said outdoor enthusiasts should consider people working outdoors and ensure they follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

The code is at the centre of Scotland’s right-to-roam legislation, which permits responsible access to most of the nation’s countryside.

SNH said it will be launching an online campaign to publicise its guidance, which also contains advice for land managers.

It said: “Spring is a crucial time for many key outdoor workers and a social media campaign will provide key advice on responsible access, which includes following all reasonable requests to avoid fields with young or pregnant livestock, farmyards and other busy areas.

“Dog owners are asked to keep their dogs close at heel or on a lead when on farmland and it is advised to try and plan routes that avoid the need to touch surfaces such as gates.”

Pete Rawcliffe, head of people and nature at SNH, said: “Exercise and fresh air is important for our wellbeing and we encourage people to make the most of their local walks or cycles during restrictions.

“But we need to make sure that we are still following social-distancing rules when outdoors, and that we respect the health and safety of farmers and others working on the land.

Advice from SNH during the lockdown

Advice from SNH during the lockdown

“If we follow Scottish Government advice and stay local for our exercise, make use of the paths and open spaces near to us and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access code, we will be doing our bit to beat Covid-19 and end restrictions.”

Scottish Mountain Rescue, which represents 24 of the 28 teams north of the border, said on Friday none of its members had been called out for 26 days, the longest period without incidents since the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak of 2001 closed most of the UK’s countryside to the public.

More details are on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website.

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