Code of Conduct

Responsible driving in the countryside

If your idea of green laning is to test your vehicle to the limits without consideration for the environment, our tours are not for you.

Countryside access for all refers to the principle that everyone should have the right to access and enjoy the countryside, regardless of their background, income, or physical abilities. It includes access to those that wish to enjoy the countryside in their 4×4 vehicles. However, the number of green lanes we can drive has reduced significantly since introducing the NERC Act 2006. Our remaining green lanes are under constant pressure from those wishing to restrict vehicular access further. Fortunately, some organisations, such as the Green Lane Association and others, constantly work in the background to challenge lane closures. If not for them, many more lanes would be closed at an unthinkable rate.

What can you do to help?

It is very important that all 4×4 users of the countryside adhere to the Countryside Code and, for example, the GLASS Code of Conduct. These guidelines are not difficult to follow and will not adversely impact your enjoyment of the countryside. On the other hand, not adhering to them provides evidence to those who wish to restrict vehicular access to green lanes with the evidence they need to apply for lane closures (TRO’s). Once a lane is closed by a TRO, it will never be reopened. Furthermore, if you are caught abusing green lanes, your vehicle can be confiscated and scrapped, and very large fines can be handed out by the courts.

The proportion of 4×4 owners that choose to abuse green lanes is a small minority, but that’s all it takes. The phrase “one bad apple” comes to mind and is true regarding the 4×4 community.

Before venturing out onto the green lanes…

  • Research the route you will drive – make sure it is legal.
  • Stick to the route and do not drive outside the boundary of the lane.
  • Be courteous to other users.
  • Horses – if you come across horses, stop and turn off your engine. The rider will be very grateful.
  • Hikers, walkers and cyclists – give them plenty of space or stop if space is restricted. They will be grateful (for the most part – some will never be happy). Just smile and wave and continue.
  • Never get into arguments if challenged – if you can explain that you are doing nothing wrong and are on a legal route, maybe a little education will help but don’t be condescending.
  • CIimatic conditions – take into consideration the weather conditions. If a lane is muddy, think about how much damage driving it will cause. Will it recover by itself in a short period of time once weather conditions improve? If not, don’t drive it.
  • If you are looking for extreme challenges, don’t look for them on the network of green lanes. Find a pay-and-play site; there are plenty around where you can beat up your 4×4 and not worry about the environment.

What is a green lane?

Green lanes are Byways Open to All Traffic (BOAT) and Unclassified Roads (UCR). They are part of the public rights of way network, which includes footpaths, bridleways, and other routes that are legally accessible to the public. BOAT’s and UCR’s have vehicular access rights and are maintained by the local council, but they are not maintained to the same standard as A, B or C roads, and in most cases, the surface is rough, making them unsuitable for 2WD cars. However, they can be travelled perfectly well, legally and safely in a 4×4 vehicle.

When would I be off-roading?

Let’s be perfectly clear about this. You would only be off-roading when you leave the public rights of way network. To go off-roading, you would need to be on private land. For this, you would need the landowners’ permission. If you do not have it, you would be breaking the law.

This also applies to driving on green lanes and venturing off the lane (driving off the permitted track), where you would then be on private land or on land where it is not permissible to drive.

Useful Resources

  • Outdoor Active (Mapping – excellent for the UK, uses OS Maps)
  • GAIA (Mapping – USA focused but good for rest of world including UK (UK maps not as detailed as Outdoor Active))
  • Memory Map (Mapping – very good for the UK, but expect a steep learning curve)
  • Open Street Map (Mapping – OpenStreetMap is a free, open geographic database updated and maintained by a community of volunteers)
  • OS Maps (Mapping – UK OS Maps)
  • Definitive Rights of Way (UK Gov – links to various council’s definitive rights of way maps)

Organisations you should consider joining

Training

If you are new to 4×4 vehicles and green laning, get educated by one of the best.

Recommendations

For UK green laning, we recommend Outdoor Active as a route planning tool and a subscription to the Green Lane Association (which includes access to TW2) for route checking.

Code of Conduct
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