If the most excitement you see in your 4×4 is a full load of shopping on the way back from Tesco, it’s probably time you put it through its paces on your first green laning trip.
Here the green laning experts at specialist insurance broker Adrian Flux answer all the questions you need to ask before you head off into the great outdoors.
What is green laning?
Green laning is adventure driving or riding on what are usually unsurfaced lanes, tracks or trails that are open for motorised vehicles to use.
Also known as byways, green lanes are often overgrown and twist through the countryside very much off the beaten track. Green lanes are officially classified as byways open to all traffic (BOATs) or unclassified country roads (UCRs) .
Do I need tax, MOT and a driving licence to drive a green lane?
Despite their challenging surfaces and overgrown nature, green lanes are still public highways and they are subject to the same road traffic orders as every other road. You will need road tax, insurance, a driving licence and an MOT (if applicable). For your own safety, your vehicle must also be robust and road worthy.
Can I drive my 4×4 in any green lane?
Not all byways are open to traffic, some of them may have a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on them. The onus is on you to ascertain whether a green lane is open to traffic or whether it has restrictions on it.
How do I find green lanes near me?
There are many clubs that organise regular green laning drive outs. Even if you live in a big city, such as London, you can usually find a club near you. These are a great place to start. Just north of London, for example, the Essex Land Rover Club organises monthly trips along the byways of Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
Outside of the capital, there are plenty of green lane routes in rural places, such as the Peak District, which is home to many beautiful trails.
Up towards Birmingham, you can follow the Midlands Green Lane Society on Facebook to learn about their green laning days and events.
And towards King’s Lynn, check out the Breckland Land Rover Club for green laning events.
The rights of green laners are championed by the Green Lane Association (GLASS) and the Trail Riders Fellowship, both of which can steer you towards clubs in your area. When you become a member of GLASS, you receive a quarterly magazine and access to an online database on the rights of way in Great Britain. Local representatives hold regular meetings throughout the country and the site is packed full of information for non-members as well.
You can also contact All Terrain UK, who arrange responsible and sustainable green laning routes that are family friendly and offer map reading workshops and smart trail tutorials.
Individual Land Rover clubs such as the Red Rose Land Rover Club organise special green laning events throughout the year, including weekends away.
LARA, the Land Access and Recreation Association, acts as a national forum for the principal groups in countryside motorsport and recreation. It can answer questions on all types of motorsport and recreation, such as how to take part, land access issues, planning problems, etc. For green laners, LARA has produced a very useful voluntary code of conduct called the drivers’ countryside code of conduct.
We’ve also put together a handy guide for the best counties to go green laning in.
Can I go green laning on my own?
You can, but it’s not advisable, especially as a rookie. Green laning can be dangerous, especially if you are inexperienced at driving on unstable surfaces.
Accidents aren’t common, but they do happen. As do punctures and getting stuck in the mud. If you come to grief in this way, it’s good to know there are other vehicles on hand to give you a tow or to help change a spare wheel.
And if you get lost, which shouldn’t really happen nowadays with satnav technology, it’s good to know you’re all in it together.
Do I need any special equipment to go green laning?
You will need to take the sort of things you’d take on any long road trip:
- Mobile phone
- Phone charger
- First aid kit
- Inflated spare wheel
- Working jack
- Basic tool kit with some spare bulbs
- Paper OS map
- Tow rope
- Off-road jack
Make sure you also dress appropriately for the activity.It’s also a good idea to make sure your 4×4 is up to the challenge of green laning, especially if you’ll be taking on fairly rural rides. Take a look at our roundup of the best 4x4s that can be used for off-roading and green laning. And if you’re considering modifying your vehicle for off-roading or green laning, take a look at the top modifications we recommend.
What else do I need to know for my first green laning trip?
Avoid going out alone and remember: despite the green lane’s appearance, it is still a public highway, so respect others using the route and always consider and give way to pedestrians, horse riders and livestock.
Make sure the green lane you want to explore is open and is not subject to any special orders and stay on track.
Watch your speed, drive in convoys of no more than six vehicles and, above all, respect the countryside and avoid driving on badly damaged green lanes because that could result in them being closed permanently.
Finally, take care. Green laning is fun, but there are risks.
Make sure you take out 4×4 and green laning insurance
Before you start green laning, make sure you have suitable insurance in place. At Adrian Flux, our 4×4 insurance covers green laning and off-roading as standard on most policies. To get a quote, call us on 0800 369 8590 or book a callback at a time that suits you.