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As people begin to enjoy the outdoors more following the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions, FLS is encouraging everyone to exercise their patience first and foremost.

The call from FLS Chief Executive, Simon Hodgson, highlights that the forestry organisation’s leisure and recreation facilities – including car parks, mountain bike trails and toilets - are unlikely to be fully open before the end of phase 2 of the recovery plan, with visitor centres likely to open in phase 3.

Mr Hodgson said;

“The recent restriction easing outlined in Phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s route map through the current public health crisis are just the first steps on a long and carefully planned journey.

“With appropriate guidance in place, more FLS staff will be emerging from lockdown, which means that we can start work on our own phased recovery. However, we are in no doubt that it will yet be some time before we can fully open up our car parks, mountain bike trails and other visitor facilities to the public.

“We appreciate that some people might like things to move faster but we will not compromise the health or the safety of our staff, our visitors or of the communities that we work with.”

Some non-essential forestry workers are now able to return to their outdoor working environment with appropriate physical distancing and other measures in place.

Mr Hodgson added;

“The official advice is to stay local and we remind people that if one of our woodlands is local to them, they are welcome to visit as long as they observe the latest guidelines on physical distancing and use their common sense; if it looks busy, it probably is so please have a back-up plan and find somewhere else to enjoy.

"For now our car parks remain closed, but as things change we will update our website so always check before you travel.

“And remember that the Scottish Government advice is there to protect all of us, so play your part and help stop the spread of the virus."


Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.

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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 0131 370 5059 or