byway open to all traffic

Newbies Guide To Greenlaning

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Buy and OS map of the area you wish to go laning – OS maps can fast become outdated, always check with a definitive map or local council that the lanes do not have TRO’s.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?
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!

Basic Fundamentals:
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.

Vehicle Accessories:

Not essential, but would certainly help on some of the more challenging lanes.

Diff guards
Rock sliders
Axle Breathers
CB radio

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!

What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 1

What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads?

Greenlaning or green laning is an outdoor pursuit of driving along the network of public byways that run the length and breadth of the country.  The greenlanes are typically unsurfaced and only suitable for “off-road” vehicles. The byways are often overgrown which is why they are known as “Green lanes”. Green lane or green road is not a legal term, under the Countryside and Public Rights of Way Act 2000 there are four categories of Public Rights of Way in the UK. Not all are open to motorised vehicles so it’s worth checking the legality of the lanes before driving them.

What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 2

Public Rights of way types:

Footpath: Pedestrian use only What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 3

Bridleway: Pedestrians, horse traffic and cyclists What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 3What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 5What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 6What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 7 What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 8

Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT): Open to all types of traffic usually only suitable for 4×4 vehicle, ‘off-road’ bikes, pedestrians, horses and cyclists. What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 3What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 5What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 6What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 7What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 8What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 14What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 15

Restricted Byway (RB): Allows horses, pedestrians, horse drawn carriages, no mechanical vehicles.  What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 3What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 5What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 6What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 7What Is Green Laning | Greenlaning | Green Roads? 8

The byways each have their own unique symbols on Ordnance Survey (OS) maps of England and Wales but not of Scotland. The symbols can be found on the maps key:

Footpath: ……………

Bridleway: ———–

Byway Open to All Traffic: +++++++ 

Who can legally use Greenlanes / Green Roads / Green Lanes / Byways

In short, byways are highways and publicly owned and therefore they are open to use by the general public. As these green lanes are public highways the same laws regarding the use of vehicles on the road are applicable to these routes. That means that drivers must posses a current driving license, vehicles must have MOT, tax and insurance.

Rights of way on Greenlanes / Green Roads / Green Lanes / Byways

There is no legal rights of way, the common etiquette is that motorised vehicles give way to cyclists, horses and pedestrians. As greenlanes are shared routes a common sense approach should be taken by all users to ensure that everybody is safe whilst using the lanes.

How can I find Greenlanes / Green Roads / Green Lanes / Byways

There are a few ways of going about finding greenlanes. The first thing you should do is get an OS map which covers the area you want to go laning in. Just remember an OS map isn’t foolproof, it may be outdated.

Join a Group: Such as GLASS (Green Lane Association), TRF or CALM. Joining one of these groups will get you access to Trailwise, you can find out how to use Trailwise in our tutorial.

Find Local Groups: There are usually local greenlaning groups on Facebook, this is probably the easiest way to get introduced to the local lanes in your area. You can use Viewranger or other mapping applications to record your route for reference at a later date.

Use Trailwise: Trailwise is accessible for free, although the features are more restricted, it is certainly worth becoming a paid up member of one of the groups above for full access. TrailWise brings together Rights of Way information in the United Kingdom to aid those carrying out research into old roads and highways. It is especially valuable for finding lost roads and un-recorded lanes. TrailWise also helps people find out where they can drive green lanes. Free users get a 3km search radius, whilst subscribed members get access to a much wider search range and additional features. Trailwise features a very handy “maps browser”, which searches a database of green lanes and places an overlay onto a map.

Plan a route: Plan a route in advance, cross reference your route against the local definitive maps which can be found online. Also visit the lanes to check for any prohibition notices.
Greenlanes vary in length and also difficulty. Most lanes are quite short, when planning your route try and link as many together as you can in the area. Make sure the lanes are suitable for your vehicle, some can be low and unsuitable for taller vehicles, whilst others may be narrow and unsuitable for wider vehicles.

Be Prepared: Make sure you carry suitable recovery gear, strops, D-shackles, Hi Lift Jack etc. Never go laning on your own, the last thing you want is to run into trouble and get stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Useful Links for Green Laning

Throughout this article we have briefly touched upon certain organisations or mapping software, you can find out more about each of them by following the links below. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments, we will be only to happy to help.

Ordnance Survey

Green Lane Association

The Trail Riders Fellowship




Happy Valley Voluntary Restraint Being Ignored By 4x4 drivers 21

Happy Valley Voluntary Restraint Being Ignored By 4×4 drivers

Off road vehicles are still being driven on parts of Snowdonia despite there being a voluntary restraint on the byway known locally as Happy Valley.

The voluntary restraint on Happy Valley byway in Wales would run until April according to a tweet by GLASS. Stakeholder members requested the ongoing voluntary restraint on Happy Valley, the restraint includes both motorbikes and 4×4 vehicles.

Snowdonia National Park Authority say that byways in Cwm Maethlon, near Aberdyfi, Gwynedd have been substantially damaged and they do not have the funds to cover the repair. Gwynedd council has arranged for transportation officers to visit the site and assess the situation.

Green Lane Association (Glass) has pledged money and asked drivers that drivers of 4×4 vehicles and off road motorcycles stay away from the ‘Happy Valley’ byway.

Storm Doris caused damage to the Byway last year which has been made worse by some isolated incidents of illegal and inappropriate use by 4x4s.


A group of 4×4 drivers were using the ancient roads last August when one of the vehicles got stuck causing damage to the green lanes. One of the drivers from the group said one of the drivers had got badly stuck and some “regrettable damage” was done to remove the truck, adding drivers would be willing to help pay for the repairs.

I can fully understand that this will upset some people, had we known of the problem beforehand we would have avoided the route altogether,” he said.

This is a very short section on a very long, challenging and beautiful route, the vast majority of which can be driven without doing any harm.

It would be a shame if access was denied to the whole route because of this one section but none of us wish to make the situation worse.

On the flip side the Park authorities feel as though they have been put in very frustrating position.

Consideration is not given to other users, fragile habitats and the environment of the national park are being destroyed as tracks become wider resulting in more damage.

Repairs are too costly for the authority and landowners to implement and traffic regulation orders can result in significant costs.

It said Glass, a group that promotes sensible driving in the countryside, had agreed to contribute towards the costs of repairs to one section of the road.

The authority will also work with the group, landowners, Gwynedd council and North Wales Police to prevent the “damaging and anti-social behaviour”.

Gwynedd council said: “Officers from the council’s transportation service will be visiting the site to assess the condition of the route and to consider the options available to manage the flow of traffic.”

Temporary TRO Placed On Ceredigion Byway U1056 22

Temporary TRO Placed On Ceredigion Byway U1056

GLASS Green Lane Association has advised that a temporary TRO has been placed on U1056 at Nant y Moch, Ceredigion. The complete loop, highlighted, is closed. Signage has been placed w/c 27 Nov 2017, with a view to a full survey and plan of works for the Spring. Apparently Highways have had numerous reports from users, owners and public and feel it’s in the best interests of all, and long term sustainability. Please re-route if you are planning to go up that way in the next few months.