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This page is no longer updated. The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute joined forces with SCRI joined forces on 1 April 2011 to create The James Hutton Institute. Please visit the James Hutton Institute website.

waves - issues_best_practice

Sport, Recreation and the Water Environment

The River Dee and Deeside are renowned for their wonderful scenery and rich cultural heritage. Many thousands of people visit the area each year - from elsewhere in Scotland and further afield - to walk, climb, fish or canoe. The hills and glens of Deeside are also working estates with hunting, shooting and fishing being key activities in terms of income generation for the local area.

Some activities are considered by some to be in conflict with each other, particularly riverside walking or canoeing and angling. This conflict was expected to increase with the introduction of the Access Legislation, part of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, so over 2002/ 2003 the Dee Salmon Fishing Improvement Association, Aberdeenshire Council and Scottish Natural Heritage commissioned a study to examine the perceived conflicts between user groups on the River Dee. The general conclusions of the study were that relationships between the various users of the river are on the whole very cordial but there are a number of “hotspots” that require some management.

Click here for a copy of the River Dee Access and Fishing Study River Dee Access and Fishing Study

Litterand toileting are one of the greatest issues affecting the water environment in relation to recreational use, particularly when associated with wild camping when the nearest facilities can be some distance away. Guidelines state that to avoid contamination of the watercourse you should not urinate within 30m of a river or burn and defecation should be done as far away from water as possible with faeces buried in a shallow hole and the turf replaced.

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 was finally enacted on the 9th February 2005. The Scottish Executive, in association with Scottish Natural Heritage, have produced a Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) to help encourage responsible use of the Countryside. For information about responsible Access and the SOAC, go to the Outdoor Access Scotland website.

If you want to know more about outdoor activities in Deeside, further information can be found on the following websites:

General Activities –

Walking and Cycling –

Canoeing –

Fishing –

Canoeists at Potach Walking at Glen Muick
Many people visit Deeside each year to walk, fish or canoe.