This page describes the information provided about individual landholdings, how it has been derived, what it means and and how to interpet it.
The website is designed to provide basic information to identify the ownership of land in Scotland. As the site develops we may add more information or enhance existing information to provide more details.
This field contains the name of the landholding. Generally speaking this will be the name as recorded in the Register of Sasines or Land Register. But sometimes this is inaccurate. For example, an estate might be sold in lots and the description given is merely 'Lot 2' for example. Subsequently the property will acquire a name or may already be known locally by a name. I have modified some names to make them more easily recognisable and meaningful. By default I will respect the name used by the owner on, for example, their website. The property name in this field is one of the two ways in which you can search the data (see How to Use the Website).
The County field identifies the County within which the property is located (you can download a pdf of the county boundaries here). Counties are the pre-1975 counties (for example, Inverness-shire, Kircudbright-shire). This is the administrative geography used by the Registers of Scotland and for sensible reasons. Scotland's land registration system dates back to at least 1617 (the introduction of the Sasines Register) and there needs to be a consistent basis for indexing and locating records. Scotland's counties provides this. The field is currenrtly in the form of a code (eg ARG = Argyll) but I will try and work out how to express it as the full county name in due course. The County is important if you wish to search in the Register of Sasines (see below). In some cases a property will straddle a county boundary. There is no fixed rule as to which county is used in these circumstances.
The name of the owner is the name recorded inn the Register of Sasines or the Land Register. Exceptions to this include the following:-
The extent of the landholding in hectares.
The extent of the landholding in acres
In previous versions of the website I had a field for the address of the owner and a contact address for the landholding (if different). In the latest version I have just included one address field. Generally speaking I have included the address that is most likely to be relevant for making contact. For example if an owner lives in London and has a London address but the property has a website with a contact address on it, I will use the latter. Note also that where, in the absence of any other information, I have used the adress as provided on the title, this may not be the address of the current owner. Again, an owner who lives in London and buys land in Scotland will have their London address recorded on the title as that is their address at the time of concluding the legal transaction. They may though then move to, and live on, the land they have bought. Again, where I know this to be the case I have used the current address of the owner. Otherwise there is no way of knowing.
This field includes a link to any website published by the owner of the landholding. Such websites are the best places to find contact information for landowners as they invariably publish contact details.
Where a landholding is registered in the Register of Sasines, this field will record the Search Sheet number. This number, in conjunction with the County can be used to locate the Search Sheet in the Registers of Scotland. This field will also show the Search Sheet number where part of a landholding is registered in the Register of Sasines and part in the Land Register.
Where a landholding is registered in the Land Register, this field provides the Title Number. To obtain the title (or to check current ownership), you can use this number at the Registers of Scotland SCOTLIS website to obtain a copy of the Title and plans at a cost of £3 + VAT each.
This field records any information that may be relevant to understanding the ownership of a landholding. It also includes Sasines and Land Register references where these are too long to fit within their respective fields.
This is an important field to note and to understand. It records the date on which the Register of Sasines and/or Land Register was last searched by me. Ownership since that date might have changed. The official records of landownership held by the Registers of Scotland are updated every 24hrs. if you wish to know who owns a parcel of land today then the Registers of Scotland is the place to go. The research for Who Owns Scotland is conducted using official records in the Registers of Scotland and title deeds held by the National Records of Scotland.
Every record costs at least £3+VAT to research. If there are 2000 records on the website then to keep the website up to date within the same 24hrs as the Registers of Scotland would cost £7200 per day (2000 multiplied by £3.60) in search fees (exluding the time necessary to conduct the research). This is clearly unrealistic (and physically impossible in any event). The aim of the site is to ensure that all records are no more than one year old. This will cost (for the same 2000 records) at least £7200 per year or £600 per month in search fees.
I could not afford to update all records when the site launched in September 2022. At that time, around 50% of records had a currency of less than one year with the other 50% dating back as far as 2002. The Land Register has been searched for all properties with a currency of more than one year. Where a record has a currency of 2002, for example, and there has been no subsequent entry on the Land Register, it is very likely that there has been no change of ownership. The aim is to have all records current within one year by the end of May 2023. The exception will be where properties are undergoing land registration or have had part or the whole sold but land registration is not complete and thus the extent of any changes cannot yet be determined. Such records will typically have a currency date of between one and three years ago.
See the News page for the latest statistics on the currency of the data.
One of the issues with publishing geographic information online is that the files can end up being very large. GIS (geographic information system) files are basically tables of data. This includes information such as the names of owners and properties but the data that takes up the most space is the geographic (easting and northings) data that consists of each individual point in a landholding polygon which, taken together, form the boundaries you see on the map.
If the data files are too large then it will mean users have to wait for data to load as they pan and zoom across the map. We have limited the amount of data to be downloaded by users by limiting it to those landholdings within 20km of the centre point of the map. In addition, we have simplified the polygons to 10m. Basically that means that were a polygon might have been plotted with vertices 6m apart, those have been removed and the minimum distance is now 10m. This means that looking closely at the data will obscure some detail. However, it should be noted that in many cases, this detail is not there in ther first place as the digitising process for older properties was cruder than for those generated more recently. Some of the failure of boundaries to follow river courses accurately will be the result of digitising those boundaries on paper maps 15 years ago. As the website develops I will be working to improve these details.
The data incorporates landholdings owned by Scottish Ministers and managed by Forestry and Land Scotland. The data is derived from published information by Forestry and Land Scotland which includes over 1900 parcels of land. To reduce the amount of data, I have edited this to exlude all parcels of less than 1ha in extent. In addition, the data is simplified (see above).