Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum seeks new members to continue excellent work

By bellmannews / January 20, 2022
old photo showing path in good condition

From Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum

A body which seeks to continually develop, manage and promote outdoor access across the Aberdeenshire is encouraging new members from community groups or land managers to join its ranks.

Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum (ALOAF) covers the area of Aberdeenshire apart from the Cairngorm’s National Park area.

It was established under The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 to advise the local authority on putting the legislation into effect.

Independent of the council, the forum advises the authority on matters relating to the exercise of access rights, delineation of rights of way and core paths and is also able to offer assistance and mediation to all parties in any dispute about access rights and responsibilities.

The group is, however, supported by a number of council teams during the course of its discussions, including Aberdeenshire Ranger Service, environment planners and outdoor access officers.

ALOAF members represent a broad range of experience across an array of fields of countryside interest including recreational use, land management, community development and the public and NGO sectors.

Meeting four to five times a year – virtually during the pandemic – the Forum considers a variety of access topics including:

•            Making the countryside more accessible and enjoyable for walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and canoeists

•            Offering assistance with the resolution of access disputes within Aberdeenshire

•            Development of recreation and access strategies for the countryside, ensuring that they cater for a wide range of people

•            Improvement of the rights of way network

Current chair Chris York has been a member of the Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum for more than 10 years and has seen for himself the impact its work has made across Aberdeenshire.

He said: “Over the years our forum has played a role in encouraging dialogue among those bodies with a keen interest in access issues – ranging from farmers and other land managers, local community groups to public sector bodies. We have been heavily involved in advising on the Aberdeenshire Core Paths Plan and promotion of responsible outdoor access.

“As with many organisations, we are seeing a number of our members retiring from these voluntary roles, but it is crucially important that we keep the Forum active at a time when people are wanting to enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation and land managers are feeling the pressure of increased public use of the countryside. We are currently looking for new members with a background in land management and from community groups or community councils.”

If you are interested in applying to join the Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum, you should apply by email – including a brief statement (no more than 150 words) outlining your interests relevant to the position of land manager representative or community representative – to aloaf@aberdeenshire.gov.uk 

Alternatively, you can post written applications to: Bridget Freeman, Outdoor Access Officer, Aberdeenshire Council, Gordon House, Blackhall Road, Inverurie, AB51 3QL.

The featured image is the cliff path at Cowie, which is part of the Shire’s core path network