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I'm sure a lot of you buying the 4x4 version of the Duster are tempted to go off-roading, and why not, that's what 4x4 is for! But, there are some laws you need to be aware of if you don't want to find yourself in hot water.

Green Lanes are public roads that have an unmetalled surface and to drive them you have to have a road legal vehicle, driving license, insurance, car tax and MoT certificate.
It is illegal to simply drive anywhere you like off-road, although you know that already!

So, how do you find out where you can and cannot drive?

First step, get an Ordnance Survey map of your area. 1:25k is best, 1:50k is also very useful as an overall and quick guide. Get yourself familiar with the main OS key (slightly different for each map scale, particularly the keys for roads of all types below A or B road status. Not all 'green lanes' are byways, some cracking lanes can be had by following up unclassified roads.

So, Key 1, the Explorer 1:25k, Orange coloured paper maps. We're only interested in roads and rights of way at the moment.



So look at the map, we can mostly discount the Motorway system and A & B roads as only being useful to get somewhere, the roads and tracks we need to look for are …


All of which can be useful to us, especially the unfenced roads as they are also sometimes single-track, un-kept and can be really quite rough .. just what we want!

However, the 'real' green-lanes are amongst the following.



The lanes of interest to us are the "Byway open to all traffic", known as BOATS.

Restricted Byways (formerly rupps) are supposedly of no use (legally) for vehicular use any more, but more of that later. We CANNOT drive on footpaths or bridleways, end of ! Unfortunately many footpaths and bridlepaths are obviously used by 4x4's (or vehicles at least) but local farmers are likely to have an agricultural easement for access to use these, so just because they're allowed to doesn't mean we can!

The 'other public access' routes are also useful in that many long distance rights of way are open to vehicles, such as Peddars Way in Norfolk. Again, these are potentially interesting if there's one near you, but check it's legality first!

So, it's the lines of green crosses that denote the lanes we can drive on. They are often un-kempt, scratchy, boggy/muddy and rutted as there are too few of them for the number of people who want to drive them. But they are the gold-dust we want …


So, what do they look like on a real map? How can we tell they're legal, and how can we tell they might be interesting?



You can see the line of green crosses going from A to B or vice-versa. This is a Byway Open to All Traffic, a BOAT, and we can legally drive it. Indeed it's close to my area and I know it's also marked BYWAY with a proper signpost at each end.

I know it's legal because I've been onto the local councils website and searched their rights of way section where it's named as a legal Byway and mentioned on the definitive map. Ordnance Survey get a lot of their information from the definitive maps so a lot of the time what's on the map should be OK to drive, but it's worth checking first as a section 59 notice won't be a pleasant addition to your paperwork! To check legality you need to note the grid reference points at start and end of the lane, then either visit your local council website, phone the rights of way officer, or visit the council offices in person. I've done all three of these to check lanes before and will continue to do so in future as I'm a married man who has a wife and kids and I don't want to be taken to court by our draconian rights of way and justice system. (rant over!)

So how do we know it's interesting? Well, we don't until we drive it, but some clues are there. Contour lines, the brown coloured squiggly marks. This area is flat, so anywhere with a couple of contours on it should at least have a little gradient or slope, OK, in this case it's not much, but it's there and is not far off the only place around with some. The little blue squiggly line running North to South at about 2/3rds across from the left is a river or stream, so potential for a ford or at least boggy ground. I this case it's a bit boggy and while it looks innocuous enough, there's so much water about, even in hot weather, that the ground sinks under your wheels a little which can be a bit awkward and definitely gives you a queasy feeling. (Close to Hatfield and Thorne Peat Marshes)

Somewhere a bit more likely as a green lane that might be interesting, ie steep, boggy, whatever and why we don't totally ignore the Restricted Byway or RUPPs (Lines of green alternating T's) until we know their legal status and why we have to speak with the local authorities …



This is a really interesting set of lanes, all marked on the map as restricted byways but all the restricted bits are actually now BOATS on the Definitive Map and are also properly signposted as Byways ... an obvious example of maps not keeping up with the legal system and a good demonstration of the need to check legality. The lanes we can't legally drive are the bridlepaths, which are clearly visible between A and B, heading North from A and heading East near the 'L' of Hangingside Lane and a couple of footpaths.

So, what makes this set of lanes look interesting on the map and worthy of following up?

First thing is the contour lines, the tracks are all on the side of a hill, going up it, traversing it, following contours and crossing contours. There's a river at the bottom of the hill so the tracks heading West (ish) from A, B and D might be washed out with rainwater run-off from the hill and fields, there's a small valley toward the centre/east that one lane goes through. Lots of clues that it's possibly an area worth looking at and worth taking some time and effort first to research the legalities, before driving out there, especially if as is my case, it's quite far away.

In fact it's a great area, the track heading East up the small valley to B, though only maybe 100 yards long is narrow, steep sided, washed out and is a minor challenge in itself, but most 4x4 drivers don't drive it!?!? Short but very sweet. Hangingside Lane is used far too much, probably because it is reasonably long, but it's extremely rutted. It can be driven by standard 4x4's if care is taken to straddle ruts instead of trying to blast through. Care and technique wins over brute force here, but unfortunately you can't tell that from the map, so it needs to be driven out to and driven over to know!. The lane heading South from D is also a bit rutted and can easily catch people out, clay, mud, ruts and tree roots all combine to make it a bit of a challenge, with (which can't be seen on the pic) to the south a steep exit, blind onto an A road!

So that's it, that's in a nutshell what I look for on a map, spotting the clues to how good a lane might be, and what to do to check legality. Once you get into map-reading and relating the lines and colours on paper to the hills, lanes and other features of real life you also get to know all the other clues and map-reading becomes a bit like reading a book, you can actually seee the places in your mind way before you visit them!

I can't and won't take any responsibility for anyone using this information in any way, the above is what I do to find lanes, if you use it that's nice, but if you then drive illegally it's nothing to do with me, I wasn't there, it was the other three .. OK …


Have fun …..

(Please note - the above advice was copied from a Landrover forum, I can take no credit for supplying this information
)
 

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anyone greenlaned their duster yet?
 

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Could I just make two points relating to off-road driving...

1) Never drive a lane that you don't know.... Walk it first!

You would be surprised at how many people end up paying farmers large sums of money to drag their cars out of deep mud....

You only have about 18cm of ground clearance and the exhaust on a Duster is a little exposed....

2) Just because you see a vehicle driving a lane doesn't mean it's a legal Right of Way..... Farmers/land owners have the right to drive anywhere on their own property.....
 

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205mm on the 4x2

215mm on the 4x4

not extream but enought for a rough lane
 

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Took mine green laneing in North Norfolk last weekend, coped very well, Nothing to extreme, a few muddy tracks, it's never going to get to the places my Disco managed but if I'd wanted that I would have got another Disco and then I would have had the hideous fuel consumption that goes with it !!!!

Loving the Duster
 

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Good to hear BUBBA going to trade in a Defender,

for just the same reasons, better fuel consumption and comfort.

Also most green lanes I have been on it was over kill
 

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Well what fun I have had today.

Took Dr Gozl down some green lanes in Kent.

Brilliant fun. The roads are boats and Kent County council runs a permit scheme which are free :

http://www.kent.gov.uk/environment_and_planning/countryside_access/traffic_regulation_orders/traffic_regulation_orders.aspx

There were times when I was axel deep in mud and some steep gravelly slopes where the 4x4 was earning it's keep.

Highly recommended.

And free.

Try it

Sent from my HTC One X using DaciaForum.co.uk mobile app

Sent from my HTC One X using DaciaForum.co.uk mobile app
 

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Stuart,

I am too fat and too old for the army;)

Sent from my HTC One X using DaciaForum.co.uk mobile app
 

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What a fine figure of a man, lol. :D

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Duster v Discovery (both standard versions 4x4). The Duster followed wherever the Disco went, absolutely no issues at all. I physically measured the clearance and both were the same at the lowest point of the underneath. I wouldn't go serious off-roading in a bog standard Duster as it's not been designed for that out of the box. I think modified the Duster would do very well, given how light it is in comparison.

We used a Byway open to all traffic that I've walked several times, but it's absolutely crucial advice and RCC is right.
 

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If this hasn't been mentioned previously, each local council will have a Rights Of Way officer and it's best to check with them if any routes have been reclassified since any maps in use have been printed.

A few unlucky individuals have been caught out, also some byways have been incorrectly signed as bridleways so it works both ways.
 
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