AAP in Scotland

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Additional information on AAP in Scotland can be found within the case studies section. However, this area will provide a general overview of AAP at present.

Access authority led

Three well-established Scottish access authority schemes operate in the CSGN area, Stirling and East Lothian and in addition Dundee. Full details of these schemes are given in the case studies section. However, for the benefit of the review report a summary of the key issues is given below:

Stirling Council – AAP Scheme

A key success with this scheme has been the genuine ‘partnership’ with local communities. There are several examples from individual communities within the Stirling Council area. The work carried out by local community volunteers on the Glen Road between Bridge of Allan and Dunblane is one example.

In the Cambusbarron area the Community Council are investigating the possibility of adopting an area of woodland with one of their main aims being to extend and maintain the path network around the village.

 The Access Officers in the Council have been instrumental in linking path projects in neighbouring communities together. This has been particularly successful in the south west of the council area where individual community paths groups such as Killearn,Balfron and Buchlyvie have joined together to ensure ‘cross border’ cooperation.

East Lothian Council – Path Warden Scheme

East Lothian Council’s (ELC) approach differs in that their main source of ‘people power’ came from individuals rather than formal groups such as Community Councils. The main aim of the ELC scheme is that Path Wardens will adopt an individual path or network of paths close to where they live that they will be able to regularly inspect and carry out minor maintenance on those routes. Initially the Council is concentrating on adopted Core Paths but other paths are added where there are sufficient Path Wardens.

ELC are particularly keen that the Path Wardens gain something from their input. This might be a simple ‘sense of achievement’, experience to add to a CV as well as exercise and getting out in the countryside.

Dundee City Council - Path Rangers Scheme

In Dundee it has been formally recognised that adopting paths can deliver organisation and Government policy and strategy objectives. The benefits of the Path Ranger Scheme have been linked with the local Health Strategy, Dundee Trees and Woodlands in Greenspace and Community Planning. Well-maintained paths have particular benefits for urban communities and the involvement of local communities and relevant agencies makes Dundee a particularly useful case study for much of the CSGN area.

Community led

Some Community groups have taken the first steps of an AAP initiative themselves and then linked with their access authority later on in the process.

However, it is recognised that not all community groups have the capacity to take the lead in APP projects.

Stranraer Rotary

The Rotary Club of Stanraer arranged for the construction and then ‘adoption’ of a section of coastal path. Along with the actual physical work, the club took on the task of obtaining the necessary planning consents and financial arrangements.

Burnturk Riders

The Burnturk Riders are a small group of horse owners who maintain and improve their local paths and bridleways. They are set up to be as self-sufficient as they can and have made successful applications for funding, have their own high quality tools and have correct insurance in place. They also have ensured proper training in use of tools and first aid.

Other organisation led

The other main type of group involved in AAP initiatives are regional organisations such as the Arran Access Trust, Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust or Fife Coast and Countryside Trust or national organisations such as the British Trust for Conservation or Sustrans.

Cairngorm Outdoor Access Trust (COAT)

COAT is a regional organisation covering a large area of north east Scotland Including the Cairngorms National Park. One of their main projects is the Cairngorms Heritage Project which include major path repair and development usually carried out by specialist contractors or trainees. However, recognising the need for ongoing maintenance and that early intervention can often prevent a minor blockage in a drain developing into a major wash out COAT are leading on an AAP volunteer scheme. Under this scheme path monitors undertake basic maintenance work which in mountain areas can often be simply using the heel of a boot to clear debris from watercourses. They also report back on path condition and requirement for additional maintenance/monitoring.

See the area organisation led section of the case studies for more information.


Like all national organisations Sustrans is able to call on an existing network of local supporters. Good organisation is key so Sustrans have a dedicated Volunteer Outreach Officer. In many areas local Sustrans volunteers work with Community Councils, Development Trusts and Access Authorities.




© 2014 Paths for All - Registered Scottish Charity No: SC025535, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 168554 inc. 19 Sept 1996 at Companies House, Edinburgh