Walking safely on our sites
Allowing people to access our sites is important to us. We are responsible for managing 270 hectares of land in the Gorge (or 250 football pitches to you and me) and unusually for the UK, our land remains open to the public 24/7. We have installed more than 20 km of pathways throughout our woodlands and meadows that are regularly maintained, however there are also many wild areas. Our signposted routes are inspected more regularly due to greater use as we conduct tree safety checks along these paths and maintain the access infrastructure. Although all woodland trails require taking care to avoid slips and trips due to mud, tree roots, fallen branches, and sometimes inevitably broken steps, if you choose to walk on an unmarked trail extra care needs to be taken.
Our top tips for walking on our sites
Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
Norwegians have a great saying:
“Det fins ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær” which translates as “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing”.
If you are wearing comfortable and weather appropriate clothing it is even more enjoyable to be outside. Woods can be muddy and slippery throughout the year, so sturdy outdoor footwear can give you more grip. Wellies can be great fun for splashing in puddles and mud after it has been raining too! Other tips – a waterproof coat and trousers are FANTASTIC when it is wet, and long clothing can help protect you from midges in the summer, as well as from nettle stings and brambles! Never be afraid to turn back if you are in any doubt about your ability to complete the activity
Follow our trails
We have numerous free trail maps available on our website and at leaflet distribution points in the Gorge, as well as signposted routes in most of our sites. Some of our trail maps guide you through the fascinating history of the area, and others provide fun routes and outdoor games for children.
Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
Take care not to damage, destroy or remove features in the countryside such as rocks, plants and trees. They provide homes and food for wildlife and add to everyone’s enjoyment.
Take your litter home with you, and ideally remove any other litter you come across if it is safe to do so – it looks unsightly and can be dangerous to wildlife.
Keep your dog on a lead around sheep
A wonderful flock of rare breed Soay sheep help us to look after our meadows. We also have neighbouring farms with livestock grazing. If you see any sign of livestock, please put your dog on a lead. We always ask that you keep your dog under close control if not on a lead as many other walkers use our land and may be nervous of a barking dog and not know whether it is friendly or not.
Always clean up after your dog responsibly.
Take a first aid kit
You may want to bring plasters, antiseptic, sunscreen and antihistamines with you.
Don’t let hunger get in your way! Bring water and snacks on your outing… but please don’t forget to put your rubbish in a bin or take it with you if one is not available