Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Outdoor Access

Walking, cycling and horse riding are increasingly popular activities in Orkney, both amongst local residents and visitors to the islands.

In 2006 Orkney Islands Council published an ‘Orkney Outdoor Access Strategy’ which sets out the Council’s priorities for the provision of outdoor access in Orkney. This document is available from the Related Downloads section to the left of this webpage.

The Access Strategy provides a framework to guide the development and management of outdoor access throughout the islands. It defines aims and objectives that will help Orkney to develop access in a co-ordinated fashion. It also contains an action plan, which will translate the strategy’s aims into a series of proposals that can be taken forward and implemented.

The strategy examines the current provision for access in Orkney and looks at future needs and demands. Using this information it sets out the key issues that need to be addressed and identifies the priorities for improving outdoor access in Orkney. It also identifies key action areas, such as the coastline and farmland, and considers the problems and opportunities associated with these specific areas. It identifies a wide range of user groups and seeks to provide access opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.

The Strategy identifies the following key aims:

  1. To provide a co-ordinated, actively promoted and well maintained network of paths.
  2. To provide a range of access opportunities suitable for different user groups and people of all abilities which are safe, welcoming and enjoyable.
  3. To work with land managers to achieve a balance between the needs of access users and the needs of those living and working on the land.
  4. To ensure that local communities, land managers, access user groups and partner organisations are involved in the development of access in Orkney.
  5. To promote responsible behaviour in the countryside, through education and information.