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Following the Scottish Government announcement of new lockdown restrictions throughout January, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has announced that while its visitor centres will remain closed, most of its car parks, walking and mountain biking trails will remain open for local access.
FLS managed public toilets will also remain open.
The decision aims to support members of the public in maintaining their mental and physical health and wellbeing as Scotland strengthens its effort to slow transmission of Covid-19.
Simon Hodgson, FLS chief executive, said: ‘As we all continue our efforts to limit the impact of the virus and to keep as many people as safe as we can, it’s now imperative that we support the Scottish Government’s ‘stay-at-home’ guidance.
‘However, we also recognise that it is also important that we all look after our health and wellbeing. That is why we are keeping most walking and mountain bike trails, car parks and toilets open so that local people can benefit from visiting their local woods.
‘The current advice is to take your exercise locally, so we would ask that people visit woodlands that are within walking, cycling or wheeling distance from their homes. We understand that there will be instances where, young children, older people and less able people will not be able to manage that short walk to their local woods, so we have kept our car parks open to help give them as much opportunity as we can in the circumstances.
‘We thank our visitors in advance for behaving sensibly and responsibly, and ask them to follow the latest Scottish Government and NHS advice.’
Forestry and Land Scotland has also reserved the right to close specific car parks if they become over-crowded, present health and safety issues or impose onerous demands on staff.
While most walking and mountain bike trails, car parks and toilets remain open, a small number are closed for routine winter maintenance. Check for local notices via the FLS Find a Forest tool.