Last weekend I discovered my new favourite weekend hobby: green laning.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, here’s a succinct synopsis borrowed from www.dataip.co.uk/RoW, a dedicated website: ‘a hobby involving the driving of vehicles on the public highway. This is no different than the daily activity of every other motorist, however, it is just that the 'Green Laner' chooses to drive generally on unsurfaced roads.’
To get started, here are the things you’ll need:
1) A 4x4 – locking diffs help, but aren’t essential. The same goes for off-road tyres. If you’re after something cheap for the weekend, take a look at this Vauxhall Frontera, which comes with a 12-month ticket. If that won’t do, this purpose-built Land Rover Discovery is more than up for the job.
2) An OS map – green laning websites mark permitted driving routes with grid references. Here’s a good example.
3) Wellies and tow rope, especially if it has rained recently.
4) Spatial awareness. Lanes can get very narrow and at the end of some of them you can also find metal width restrictions to keep illegal fly-tipping vans at bay.
5) Respect for the countryside: rogue off-roaders commonly navigate off permitted lanes and destroy protected land. Ultimately, this leads to the closure of green lanes. With everything in place, the only thing left to do is to find some local green lanes and enjoy the experience.
My 4x4 weapon of choice – this Volkswagen Amarok pick-up – was a cracking companion, if a little wide at 6.5 feet. It climbed, swam and ploughed along despite its uninitiated driver and surprisingly small, but capable 2.0-litre TDI unit.
Next week, however, the Amarok will be back at VW. And me? I’ll be at home scouring the small ads for a cheap 4x4. Who’s with me?