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History of ScotWays

Although rights of way have existed in one form or another, for example as drove roads, for many centuries, the story of the Society may be traced back to 1845.  At that time landowners in Scotland were becoming increasingly jealous of their possessions and ordinary folk were being prevented from walking in the countryside.   The citizens of Edinburgh, angry at these restrictions, called on their Lord Provost, Adam Black, to convene a public meeting at which a motion was passed which in effect called for a right of access to the countryside.

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What we do?

ScotWays, The Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society, has been working to safeguard rights of way since 1845. It is probably the oldest organisation in the world dedicated to improving countryside access.  We are a voluntary organisation, charity and a company limited by guarantee.

We are a voluntary organisation, charity and a company limited by guarantee.  Our objects are the preservation, defence, restoration and acquisition of public rights of access for the public benefit in Scotland, including public rights of way, and related amenity

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Directors & Staff

We have an office in Central Edinburgh, manned by a small team of staff and volunteers. There are other volunteers who help us throughout Scotland, e.g. checking routes and putting up signposts. We are managed by a Board of volunteer Directors and have permanent Legal, Finance, Communications and Operations sub- committees.

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 175th Anniversary

ScotWays is the UK's oldest outdoor recreation organisation. In 2020 we celebrate 175 years of Upholding Public Access. During the year there will be walks, talks and other activities to mark our anniversary. We’ll also be publishing stories of our history and the development of outdoor access in Scotland across those 175 years – a fascinating timeline of Scottish outdoor access and ScotWays through decades. 

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