Core Paths

Designated core paths in Argyll and Bute.

The Council has designated 1,200 miles of Core Paths to give sufficient access for public access throughout Argyll & Bute.  These paths cater for all types of users, walkers, cyclists, and horse riders, of all abilities.  A Core Path can be a trod path through long grass, a Public Right of Way, farm or forestry track, an old drove road, a minor road, or the footway beside a major road, basically anywhere there is a route on the ground.  There is also a Core Path on water along the Crinan Canal, if you wish to paddle your own canoe for eight miles.

To see the Core Paths Network - Where to Go Outdoors - Argyll and Bute Paths Map - the Core Paths are shown as purple lines. The Statutory list of all the Core Paths in Argyll and Bute is also available here to download (PDF document).

  • You can use the online map to view Core Paths anywhere in Argyll and Bute
  • If you need an extract from the map we can email you a single A4 or A3 PDF file free of charge.
  • You can download the Core Paths GIS data (ESRI shapefile) here (on Open Government Licence (OGL) (v3) terms)
  • The Core Paths will be shown on the next edition of Ordinance Survey walking maps
  • The Core Paths Plan can be purchased at 1:25,000 scale and comprises 61 sheets of A1 maps; it is estimated that this would cost £700 or £11.35 a sheet (2015 prices).

This is the first time that a Core Paths Plan has been produced for the Argyll & Bute Council area; it covers the area within the Council boundary but outside the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park which has its own Core Paths Plan.  To learn more about the process that led to the development of the Core Paths Plan.

Promoting Core Paths

Paths designated as Core Paths will in time be published on Ordinance Survey Maps giving the public more certainty about their rights of access.  

Improving Core Paths

The Council will work with landowners and communities to secure funding and begin the process of improving paths ensuring that signage is erected, drainage is repaired and path surfaces improved.  It will however take a number of years to improve all 1,200 miles of Core Paths.

The Scottish Government currently has funding for Improving Public Access for landowners, communities and others to improve paths and the Access Team will support and provide advice on making applications.  Find out more here.

Core Paths and Development

The Core Paths will also have to be considered when development is proposed, however they are not a reason for development to refused.  Where a Core Path crosses an area of land where development is proposed the developer will have to incorporate the path into the development by including it in the network of roads or diverting it around the development.  The Council will publish Planning Guidance on this in due course.

Section 208 orders

The Council periodically consults the public on Draft Section 208 Orders to allow a Core Path to be closed or diverted to allow land to be developed.   Orders currently open for comment will be provided below.


In the event that a Core Path is obstructed the Council has increased powers to have the obstruction removed.  If you encounter a problem please contact the Access Team.

Contact the Access Team

Neighbouring Access Authorities’ Webpages


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