Outdoor access

North Ayrshire offers a range of opportunities for outdoor access such as walking, horse riding, canoeing and cycling. These are provided by the right of responsible access under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

Outdoor Access Strategy

Our Outdoor Access Strategy (PDF, 2.3mb) was produced in partnership with the North Ayrshire Outdoor Access Forum. It is a partnership document that brings together organisations with an involvement in access planning and implementation. 

It has since been developed to take account of legislative changes.

It was determined that Strategic Environmental Assessment was not necessary after consultation. The Screening Report and Consultation Authorities responses confirm this position SEA Summary (PDF, 713kb).

Outdoor Access Officer

Our Outdoor Access Officer's responsibilities include:

  • administrative support for the North Ayrshire Outdoor Access Forum
  • implementing the North Ayrshire Outdoor Access Strategy 
  • development and implementation of the Core Paths Plan
  • providing advice and guidance on outdoor access
  • path establishment and implementation projects
  • rights of way and related issues
  • promotion of responsible outdoor access

Outdoor Access Forum

The North Ayrshire Outdoor Access Forum brings together parties with an interest in developing and managing outdoor access. The Forum's functions are to:

  • advise on the exercise of access rights and the development of the core paths plan
  • offer assistance in disputes about access rights

The Forum is made up of people appointed by the local authority and will include:

  • land owners/managers (Scottish Water and the Forestry Commission)
  • individuals (walkers, cyclists, canoeists, horse-riders)
  • agencies (local health and tourist boards)

The Forum meets, on a quarterly basis. Meeting notes may be requested by contacting the Access Officer.

Metal Detecting

Metal detecting may be carried out on Council owned land where there is a general right of non-motorised access for the public to that land in terms of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Guidance on the public’s rights and responsibilities with regard to non - motorised access can also be found in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which provides information on access rights and how they may be enjoyed responsibly.

Metal Detectorists should abide by the statutory Treasure Trove procedures and it is also recommended that they abide by best practice as suggested by the National Council for Metal Detecting.

If you wish to metal detect in areas not subject to a general right of access for the public you should obtain the land owner’s permission before doing so. This includes the Council as land owner where the land is not covered by Access Rights. For information about Council land please make a general enquiry or phone 01294 310000.

Please note: we cannot provide information on private land ownership - this information can be obtained from the Registers of Scotland.

It is a criminal offence to use a metal detector on a scheduled monument without written permission from Scottish Ministers. Further information on scheduled monuments can be found on the Historic Environment Scotland website.

Note that most finds in Scotland are subject to Treasure Trove Law, even if they are not made of precious metals. Finds should be reported to the Treasure Trove Unit and further information on how to do this and how such finds are assessed can be found on the Treasure Trove website referred to above.

Contact Outdoor Access