You have just brought a 4×4 and you are looking to do your first greenlane, so what do you need to know? This comprehensive guide will answer most questions you may have about your first time out green laning.
A Green lane trip may seem like a daunting experience, nobody wants to actually damage their vehicle or get stuck, however out of all the off-roading you can do, typically green laning is the least damaging as long as you approach it sensibly!
Green laning is great fun, but it needs to be done safely and legally, that’s why we have made this guide for you. So get reading and digesting then get out there and explore all the trails you can in a safe and responsible way.
Q/ What are green lanes?
A/ Green lanes are usually un-surfaced lanes, tracks or trails that are open for motorised vehicles to use. These ancient lanes also known as Byways are often overgrown and network around the countryside which is where they gained the unofficial name of ‘Greenlanes’ or ‘Green Roads’. When plotting a route you are looking for Byways Open To All Traffic (BOAT’s) or Unclassified Country Roads (UCR).
Q/ Do I need Tax and MOT to drive a Green lane?
A/ Greenlanes are actually public highways and as such you need to abide by the same laws which are applicable to main roads, so you need tax, MOT and insurance as well as a current driving license. You vehicle must be road worthy when traveling on byways.
Q/ My vehicle is legal does this mean I can drive any green lane?
A/ Not all byways are open to motorised traffic, some of them may have had a Traffic Regulation Order on them (TRO). It is up to you to make sure that a greenlane is open to all traffic and does not have any restrictions in place. It is also worth checking that the lane is suitable for your vehicle.
Q/ How do I find green lanes?
A/ There are a few tried and tested methods to finding greenlanes which are listed below:
Join local clubs – Local information is often the best
Join Facebook groups or websites pertaining to Green laning – Often there are localised groups that are worth joining to organise trips or gain local knowledge on specific lanes.
Buy and OS map of the area you wish to go laning – OS maps can fast become outdated, always check with a definitive map or local council that the lanes do not have TRO’s.
Try Trailwise – Its free to use, however if you join GLASS, TRF or CALM you will have access to more features. For more information on using Trailwise and the memberships etc, check our guide on ‘Planning a route the easy way‘.
Q/ I have found some greenlanes, now what?
A/ You have joined some groups, you have planned a route and checked they do not have any restrictions, now you need to make sure you and vehicle are prepared to go laning!
Fully charged mobile phone / phone charger.
First Aid Kit
Suitable off road Jack such as a Hi-Lift Jack
Spare wheel and wheel brace
Food and drink
Basic Tool kit
Suitable clothing and footwear
Satnav and mapping applications, paper maps.
Make sure your vehicle is reliable and roadworthy.
Carry recovery gear such as strops, shackles, ropes and possibly some digging equipment such as a shovel.
Consider a winch, if you do not wish to spend out on a winch right away, a Hi Lift Jack or Tirfor would suffice for the interim. Long term a winch is a good investment.
Waffle boards or mats are useful in the event you lose traction.
Not essential, but would certainly help on some of the more challenging lanes.
Q/ Got all that now what?
A/ Never go out alone, but you are now ready to go out there and have some fun! Just remember the following:
Remember it is a public high way and a shared route, so respect others and give way to pedestrians and horse riders.
Make sure you check that the green lane is open for you to use
Stay on the track… Do not go off-piste!!
Keep to a nice slow speed.
A maximum of 5 -7 vehicles in recommend in convoy, if there are trucks split up into groups to keep numbers down.
Respect the the countryside, if the weather has been bad for long periods, avoid lanes that suffer from water damage.
Always ensure some one knows where you are, having said that you should never go laning alone.
Carry all the listed gear and more. Be prepared!
Avoid driving extremely damaged green lanes, we do not want more lanes being closed for good.
Last but not least, go out there and have fun!