Flying near or over historic scotland land

I was asking historic scotland with reference flying a drone over there land and this was there response,

Hi John, if you’re not launching the drone from our property, you can fly at a distance from the property without seeking our permission (although you would have to gain permission from the landowner where you were launching from).

While the CAA new regulations allow overflying in some of the new categories and under certain conditions, they also state the following “Operators are still subject to rules and regulations imposed by other bodies and organisations.”

We manage our properties on behalf of Scottish Ministers (under the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014 and the Scheme of Delegation: Properties in Care). We have a legal duty to reduce the risks to the safety of our visitors and staff at our sites as much as is reasonably practicable.

For this reason, we do not permit unrestricted UAS activity to occur over our sites regardless of launch point. If the drone were to malfunction it could cause injury to visitors or staff and poses a significant threat to the safety of Scotland’s heritage.

Overflying our sites can only be done by prior arrangement so we can make sure it’s carried out safely. We’d ask you to be considerate in your drone flying and to admire the sites from a safe distance and to not fly directly over them, at any height, unless we’ve given you permission through our drone application.

surely the rules dont apply to mini 2?
and as far as the drone code you cannot fly a drone closer than 50m to a building, and if you fly over a building there must be a 50m space.
Surely Historic scotland cant dictate there own rules over the Caa. Now these rules only apply to drones, surely there is more risk of a passenger jet flying over historic scotland property and crashing and causing damage ie lockerbie as an example…


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There’s your mistake right there


There is a reason why I asked.i flew near
Tantallion Castle and it was closed we walked past the castle and I flew out to sea. On our way back there was two guys cutting the grass
And asked what we were doing
and it was private property !!! I said it wasnt
And quoted the right to roam in scotland act
Which is law. Anyway I queried there land rights and the right to fly drones!!! Ps I was flying a mini 2 so by Caa and the drone code I want doing anything wrong.drone code can fly near a building 50m rule and flying over
again 50m rule .hence why I
contacted reread initial post and reply pls

Yes exactly. There is really no need to ask them, HES’s drone policy is laid out on their website - Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Policy (
This has been discussed over and over and as had been said before they don’t control the skies. Yes you could fly your Mini 2 over a Historic Scotland property full of visitors and staff but why would you want to, why give yourself grief. Did you TOAL from HES property?

They have no more right to stop you flying over their property, than you do trying to stop me flying over your house

As long as you’re within VLOS and have land owners permission (if private land) for TOAL then you are in the clear (presuming there are no FRZ in place).

Your initial post was correct however

I’m not sure what you are getting at, perhaps you can clarify?

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as i said i t was closed at the time and my TOAL wasnt on there land, my query was two part . the right to roam act scotland, worth a read if you are every flying in scotland with ref to access, and i flew out to sea not from there land, they werent even aware i was flying, i asked because i had online contact with them , and they spouted out there rules .

another one of HS replies .
Hi John, even if the site is closed to people, there is still risk to the buildings and for that reason we will only permit overflying of our sites by prior arrangement. If you have any further questions, you’re best to email our colleagues at .

was later told can take up to 10 days for them to reply

Yep, I’ve read the right to roam act. I’m not sure it applies but HES might try and hit you with this part: There are a number of areas excluded. These include a sports field, a field where crops have been sown or are growing and an area of land where a building, or other structure has been constructed.

I’ve flown over Tantallon a few times and some other HES sites, but I only do it when they are closed, usually early in the morning and I never TOAL from their property. Again, as has been said, they can’t stop you, just stick to the drone code.

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  1. They appear to have no legal power to permit you to fly over their sites; nor to deny you permission. They have a legal duty to try and stop you if they are concerned about risk to property, but not the legal means to enforce that. You can do what you want, but you may want to respect their desires.
  2. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 introduced the Right to Roam. It allows you to be on or to cross someone’s land for recreational purposes, and it’s explicit that right extends to the air. You have no legal Right to Roam if you “unreasonably interfere” with any rights of others, or if you don’t follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Amongst other things, that Code requires you to “respect the rights of others”.

Personally, I think you are on slightly shaky ground if you are thinking that the Right to Roam includes an automatic right to fly your drone anywhere you want. It will always depend on whether you can argue you are flying responsibly.

Drumsagard thanks for your reply i went to tantallion as i knew it was still closed due to covid, the reason i contacted HS was the two guys who where cutting the grass quizzing me, and me mentioning the right to roam, there are exceptions if you have to pay to access . no mention if the place is closed does it supersede the right to roam act .

The right to roam rights and responsibilities(1).pdf (203.3 KB)

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as i said i wasnt pulled up for flying the drone but for being on there land, doesnt flying a drone come under the same rule as recreational fishing in scotland?

Yes. It’s a recreational activity, no doubt. But there is no unqualified right to undertake recreational activities on any land covered by the Right to Roam: it depends on whether it’s reasonable and causes interference with the rights of others, as per page 3 of the PDF that you shared.

The point is that it’s not black-and-white. Anyone saying you definitely can’t do it is probably wrong, and anyone saying you definitely can do it is also probably wrong.


Hi Chris
I note on drone scene places to fly have quoted " landowner permission requirements unknown " do you legally need to know whose land you are using to TOAL from? I can understand jaybee asking historic scotland the initial question about flying given all the misleading answers people are coming across, I was planning a flight near Souter Lighthouse South Shields, I know its NT land from the drone scene system but the land just to the south isn’t but if its council land South Tyneside council like North Tyneside, Gateshead and Northumberland appear to have a blanket ban on drone use from their land

Does the council have a byelaw in place? If so, from the drone code:


Byelaws may restrict when and where you can fly from.

Look out for local signs for information and contact details where you can find out more. Byelaws are unlikely to be shown on apps or drone websites.

both subject are not really a mine field maybe a legal one, but recreational sport and the right to roam are both subjects that if you do fly a drone in Scotland you should be aware of so you know where you stand, and i dont mean using the both reason at the same time. another one who are just as bad as historic Scotland, is the Scottish forestry commission for dictating rules that are not legal.

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What?? Forestry Commission Scotland allow drone flights - Permissions and permits - Forestry and Land Scotland

if you fly from the beach its crown property, and i doubt they would even be interested in you flying your drone as long as it was by the drone code

Drone flying by hobbyists or commercial operators on Crown Land owned by the Forestry Commission is not allowed without permission. … Flying on land owned by the National Trust is not permitted without their permission. but you can fly over it .

Not all beaches are crown property but yes that was my final option drone scene clearly shows an area of shoreline I could use obviously I would need to take care with uninvolved persons and wildlife but it should be possible to fly over the council (?) land and NT land

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My son took an SLR image of a waterfall near Kielder he commented that a better shot could be achieved with a drone but its forestry england land and they clearly quote a bylaw that forbids flying of model aircraft

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