Permissions and permits
COVID-19 Notice (reviewed 16 April 2021)
FLS recognises the potentially longer lead-in time for planning organised events and potential differences in protection levels across Scotland, and has commenced planning for events in/after 2021.
Organisers must follow Scottish Government guidance on travel and transport, particularly when potential participants may come from different areas of Scotland or elsewhere.
I would like to:
- Buy a parking permit
- Fly my drone
- Obtain a firewood permit
- Put on an event
- Go horse riding
- Drive my vehicle in the forest
- Film or photograph in the forest
- Go metal detecting within a forest
- Place a geocache
- Place a memorial
- Get married
- Do something else
At some of our forests, we charge for car parking. The money you pay goes towards maintaining facilities – such as toilets, visitor centres and trail networks and looking after the forest and its wildlife. Wherever we charge, you’ll find further information on the destination page for that specific forest.
If you are a regular visitor to one of these forests, you may wish to purchase a money-saving parking permit. Details of how to purchase your local permit are on the destination pages.
Visitors to Scotland’s national forests and land can fly drones for personal and recreational use as long as it complies with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) and Civil Aviation Authority guidance, Drone Code and all other legal requirements, such as those relating to privacy/data protection and wildlife protection. In such cases you will not require prior approval from us.
If you want to take off and land a drone for commercial or professional purposes, please contact the relevant regional office to apply for permission as early as possible in your planning. Drone use for filming and photography will be considered through the Filming or photography request process. In all cases, before approving the use of a drone for commercial or professional purposes, we will ask you to provide specific documentation to demonstrate Civil Aviation Authority Operational Authorisation and safe use.
Burning firewood can make a real saving on your home energy costs. Firewooding can be fun too.
Scavenging licences and firewood permits have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Visit our COVID-19 page for up to date information.
Firewood Permits (Bulk)
For significant bulk buying. Customers will use a forestry haulier to receive a delivery of generally 10 tonnes plus, in lengths of around 3m. Contact your regional office for more information and prices.
Firewood Permits (Semi-Bulk)
By appointment, customers can self-collect marked bundles of firewood – again in around 3m lengths. Bundles are generally less than 3 tonnes. Specific sites and collection times can be arranged via regional offices.
Subject to availability within your local forest regional area and following the payment of a fee, customers can have access to a site for the purpose of collecting 'on-site' harvesting residues. Note hand tools only are permitted for this operation. The duration of a permit will be for a maximum of 3 months. Contact your regional office for more information.
If you are interested in organising an event in our forests, please read our Event Tips (PDF 116KB) and Checklist (PDF 230KB) to help you prepare. Depending on the nature of your event, you may need to obtain official permission to hold it.
Please make sure you allow enough time to plan your event. We use these minimum event planning times, from the National Access Forum’s Outdoor Events Guidance:
|Event type||Small event||Medium event||Large event|
|Walking/running*||25-50 participants||50-200 participants||200+ participants|
|Cycling**||25-50 participants||50-100 participants||100+ participants|
|Equestrian||10-25 participants||25-50 participants||50+ participants|
|Planning lead time (minimum)||3-6 months||6-12 months||1-2 years|
* includes orienteering, canicross and similar.
** includes triathlon, adventure racing, sled dog racing and similar.
NB. Group outings by club members are not classed as events.
For the most popular types of events, we have developed standard event agreement and permissions procedures. If your event falls into one of these categories please follow the procedures detailed in these documents. For all other events and additional facilities and services, we have a standard rate card (PDF).
- Scottish Athletics events (PDF 478KB)
- Scottish Orienteering events (PDF 459KB)
- Triathlon Scotland events (PDF 476KB)
- Scottish Endurance Riding Club (PDF 442KB)
- Cycling and mountain biking events (PDF 626KB)
- Dogsports events (PDF 811KB)
- Junior sports guidance note (PDF 247KB)
Permission and permits for motorsports events are managed through exclusive agreements with the Motorsport UK, the Auto Cycle Union (ACU) and the Scottish Auto Cycle Union (SACU):
- Motorsports policy statement (PDF 20KB)
- Motorsport UK master agreement (PDF 630KB)
- Motorsport UK events concordat (PDF 158KB)
- Scottish Auto Cycles Union master agreement (PDF 427KB)
- Auto Cycles Union and Scottish Auto Cycles Union events concordat (PDF 128KB)
The forest trails are open to everyone under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and we welcome horse riders to the forest. For the best places to ride and car parks to use, visit our Horse riding page or contact your regional office. BHS Scotland also provides some helpful responsible riding guidance.
Motor vehicles and motorbikes are not permitted in our forests other than for motorsports events held according to the policy and agreements above. Contact your regional office if you have any questions.
Small-scale (handheld) filming and photography may take place without our consent per the guidance set out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) (“to further people’s understanding of the natural or cultural heritage and which requires only hand-held equipment and involves no vehicles off the road”).
All other filming and photography may only be carried out with our consent. With the exception of filming for certain news events, a fee will normally be payable and requests should allow a lead-in time of at least 6 weeks.
If the filming or photography request involves the use of a drone this will be subject to an authorisation process as set out in our guidance for flying a drone.
Metal detecting as an informal activity or hobby is not allowed on the land we manage. However, metal detecting may be permissible as part of an archaeological project (as part of a project design agreed in advance). This is to ensure that:
- the work is undertaken in agreed locations to agreed standards and methodologies;
- an agreement is in place to ensure the finder waives any right to reward in regard to any discoveries on Scotland's national forests and lands; and that
- an agreement is in place in respect to the costs of any artefact conservation that may be required.
Further information is available in our Metal Detecting guidance note (PDF 556KB).
Placing geocaches on the land we manage is allowed, subject to the conditions and guidance agreed with the Geocaching Association of Great Britain.
We are fortunate enough to manage many special places and wild landscapes that mean a great deal to many people. However, one of the main reasons these places are treasured, is precisely because they feel wild and natural.
We therefore ask people not to leave memorials in the forest – to respect the qualities that others have enjoyed and continue to enjoy.
As some of the habitats we manage are particularly fragile, containing rare plants and wildlife, we respectfully ask that you seek advice from your regional office before scattering ashes.
If leaving flowers, please choose a secluded spot, away from other visitors. Please ensure they are real flowers that will readily biodegrade back into the soil and that all containers, wrappings and ties are removed from the site and disposed of responsibly.
Regrettably, we are unable to accept or maintain memorial benches or similar items in our forests.
Make a donation towards a project
While we can’t plant and maintain memorial trees, you may wish to make a contribution for a loved one to a wider project; helping us care for a site they particularly valued. Projects will vary from site to site but may include tree planting schemes, enhancing a view or improving visitor facilities, to help others enjoy a special place. Again, we regret that no attribution or memorial can be part of the project.
Please contact your regional office for further details.
If you wish to get married on Scotland’s national forests and land, there are a couple of options:
- For low key, small weddings, you may be able to get married at one of our sites by simply exercising responsible access under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (you’ll take the forest as you find it, you don’t impact on other people’s enjoyment, the environment or hinder any operational activities). Please understand that if you choose this option, you can’t book your location, so we’d recommend you check it out beforehand for closures, operations, events etc.
- For larger ceremonies or receptions, which involve marquees, toilets or other structures and a booked location, you will need to apply for a permit as far ahead as possible, by using this form. The National Access Forum’s guidance on holding an outdoor event, which includes advice on numbers, planning times and more, can be found here. For official information on getting married in Scotland, please click here.
For all weddings or functions, if you’re having professional photos taken at the location, a wedding photography permit will be required and you will need to contact the relevant regional office at least 6 weeks in advance to apply and pay any wedding photography fee which applies.
Can't find the information you're looking for? Contact your local Forestry and Land Scotland office.