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Access to the Great Outdoors

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 introduced by the Scottish Parliament in February 2005 requires the Highland Council to draw up a core path plan to "provide the basic framework of routes sufficient for the purpose of giving the public reasonable access throughout their area."

The core plan for the Highlands, including Sutherland, can be seen on this website page:

http://www.highland.gov.uk/leisureandtourism/what-to-see/countrysideaccess/corepathplans.htm

Other access and recreational information is also available via links from this web page.

These plans all went through two stages of public consultation, a consultative draft and a formal twelve-week statutory consultation period.  The plans could not be adopted by the Highland Council as all the plans had outstanding objections which were not able to be resolved.  The plan for the whole Highland area, with minor changes as established by the formal consultation, was sent to Scottish Ministers in spring 2009.  A Public Local Enquiry was started later that year, and the Reporter's recommendations have been passed to the Scottish Government.  Highland Council awaits the instructions of the minister on what plan shall be adopted.

A project fund has been launched to allow improved accessibility and promotion of the draft core plan.  See the following link:

http://www.highland.gov.uk/leisureandtourism/what-to-see/countrysideaccess/hcpip.htm

Further information on Sutherland aspects of the Core Path Plan can be obtained from Matt Dent, HC Access Officer for Sutherland, on matt.dent@highland.gov.uk

In the meantime, why not take advantage of the new series of East Sutherland woodland walks recently produced as part of the Regional Woodland Park initiative, in which Sutherland Partnership participates.  Just follow this link: http://www.highlandbirchwoods.co.uk/publications-g.asp

This page will continue to be updated as appropriate.  Watch this space!

Photo: Brora Beach at Dawn - Iain Sarjeant