Permissions and permits
I would like to:
- buy a parking permit
- fly my drone
- purchase or scavenge firewood for domestic use
- put on an event
- go horse riding
- follow the dog sports code
- drive my vehicle in the forest
- film or photograph in the forest
- go metal detecting and gold panning 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 pass. Details of how to purchase your local pass are on the destination pages.
Visitors to Scotland’s national forests and land can fly drones for personal, recreational or professional low impact filming/photography use as long as they comply 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.
Higher impact drone use for filming and photography will be considered through the Filming or photography request process.
If you want to take off and land a drone for another purpose, please contact the relevant regional office to apply for permission as early as possible in your planning.
For guidance on what low and high impact means, see our filming factsheet.
Firewood for domestic heating is sold as either a firewood permit or a scavenging licence.
- A firewood permit covers small parcels of unprocessed logs located in designated areas
- The scavenging permit allows the recovery of branch wood and logs from a recent harvesting site using hand tools
The release of firewood permits and scavenging permits is limited and is dependent on availability and sites which are considered safe for collection. We are currently looking at opportunities to provide a more reliable and regular supply of firewood for domestic users.
Please contact your local office for help with any enquiries about the availability of these licences, and how to buy them.
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, and in collaboration with various sports governing bodies, we have a standard event agreement and process (PDF). A short sport-specific appendix is also available from your governing body.
View the dog sports appendix (Word) in association with the Kennel Club.
View the equestrian appendix (Word), in association with the British Horse Society.
For all events, we have a standard rate card (PDF).
Permission and permits for motorsports events are managed through exclusive agreements with Motorsport UK, and the Scottish Auto Cycle Union (SACU). We have recently agreed new concordats with Motorsport UK (PDF) and Scottish Auto Cycle Union (PDF).
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.
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code includes a conditional right of access to land across Scotland to train and exercise dogs in canine sports such as canicross, bikejor, scootering and the use of sleds and non-motorised wheeled rigs.
This right of access depends on behaving responsibly at all times and not causing problems for wildlife, livestock and other people visiting or working in the outdoors.
Following this Dog Sports Code (PDF), developed in partnership with the Kennel Club and agreed by the National Access Forum, will help you and your dogs stay safe, enjoy your visit and be welcomed back by others.
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.
For other filming and photography, you don’t need to contact us if you’re undertaking low impact filming and photography, as this is allowed under your right of responsible access, provided you respect the interests of others, care for the environment, take responsibility for your own actions and don’t require a vehicle. However, we’re really interested to know what filming has taken place on the land we look after, so please tag FLS when you share your work and/or send us a completed filming notification form afterwards.
Our consent is required for all other filming and photography (e.g. higher impact, vehicle access or FLS support needed), through the submission of a Filming Request form. A fee will normally be payable and you should allow a lead-in time of at least 6 weeks.
Flying a drone for recreational use, or low impact professional filming and photography, may take place under your right of responsible access to Scotland’s land and under CAA legislation in the air. You must respect the interests of others, care for the environment, take responsibility for your own actions and follow the Drone Code.
Informal/hobby metal detecting and gold panning are not allowed on the national forests and land. 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).
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
This involve marquees, toilets or other structures and a booked location, you will need to apply for a permit as far ahead as possible using our Weddings/Functions Enquiry Form.
You should also read the National Access Forum’s guidance on holding an outdoor event, which includes advice on numbers, planning times and more. For official information on getting married in Scotland, please visit the MyGov.Scot website.
For all weddings or functions
If you’re having professional photos taken at the location, please check the filming guidance above, to check whether a wedding photography permit will be required. If so, you will need to contact the relevant regional office at least 6 weeks in advance to apply, and pay any wedding photography fee that applies.
Get in touch
Can't find the information you're looking for? Contact your local Forestry and Land Scotland office.