Q. What is a Green Road?
A. We prefer to use the term Green Road over the more commonly used term Greenlane. We believe this can be misleading after all there is no confusion over what a ‘road’ is and isn’t. Green Roads are unsurfaced roads they are not covered in concrete or tarmac; many will have existed for centuries and were once possibly old trader, mining, quarry or access roads. They will be classified for driving as either a Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) or Unclassified Road (UCR).
As a road, your vehicle will need to have Road TAX, Insurance and an MOT if appropriate for the vehicle age. The driver will need to hold a driving licence for the class of vehicle in their ownership. As the trails and tracks we use meet the classification of a road we are not ‘off roading’ we are driving public rights of way with vehicular rights. However as green roads they do not always fall under the same maintenance and repair as the general highway, making the vast majority of BOATs and UCRs only accessible for 4×4 vehicles, motorbikes (trail riders), mountain bikers, horses/rider and walkers.
Q. What can I expect as a novice to Green Road driving?
A. Hopefully a great day out for you and your passengers off the tarmac highway using ‘B’ and ‘C’ roads to journey in-between some great green roads. Support and guidance is available throughout your tour, we offer guidance on vehicle capabilities and support you to get the most out of your 4×4. If we come to a tricky or technical section we will stop and guide you through
We provide all vehicles with a two-way radio, unlike mobile phones these are legal to use whilst on the move. We keep in contact throughout the tour and use the radios to point out interesting features, landmarks, history, stopping to take photographs or general conversation.
Q. Do I need a modified 4×4 to join a tour?
A. Quite simply no! Our brand of Relaxed & Scenic and Grand Tours are suitable for standard and show room vehicles. Our Adventure Tours well, that is something completely different. We developed Relaxed & Scenic and Grand Tours to meet the growing need of novice drivers and new vehicle owners who want to make the most of their 4×4 vehicles beyond the tarmac highway.
We aim to use sustainable green roads throughout our brand of tours. In the North of England and Wales we are truly blessed with some of the most fantastic green roads the UK has to offer. We want you to enjoy your vehicle as you bought it without the need for bolt on accessories. However, you need to ensure that your vehicle is up to the task and that all components and features work as they should; including abs, traction control, 4×4 switch gear and locking centre differentials. Tyres should have a good depth of tread. They do not need to be all terrain or mud terrain for a Relaxed & Scenic or Grand Tour but they should have a more than 60% of the original tyre depth. We strongly advise that your vehicle has a full size spare wheel; space savers and/or repair kits are not recommended. You should also have at least ¾ of a tank of fuel as a minimum but not a full ‘brimmed’ tank of fuel at the start of your tour.
Q. Will I get stuck?
A. This is highly unlikely especially on a Relaxed & Scenic or Grand Tour. But, if you do don’t worry, we will show you how to make the most of your vehicles 4×4 capabilities to self-recover where possible whilst minimising the risk of damage to the environment or your vehicle. Failing that our vehicles are equipped with a range of recovery equipment to help you back on the track. For our range of Adventure Tours we encourage participants to bring along their own recovery equipment or as a minimum have accessible and appropriate front and rear recovery points.
Q. What about the call of nature?
A. Toilets & Comfort breaks (also known as Teas and Wees) are built into all of our tours. However due to the nature of green road driving and sometimes the remoteness of our trails and tracks getting back to basics is the mother nature of necessity. We usually call this going into the woods to look for a “squirrel”.
Q. What should we wear?
A. Outdoor shoes or walking boots with a strong robust sole, loose fitting trousers or shorts, for the top half we recommend layers of clothes, t-shirt short or long sleeve, sweatshirt, hoodie, micro fleece. It is also wise to bringing along a warm jacket, and a waterproof and/or wind-proof outer coat. During the summer months, some of our trails and tracks reach altitudes well above sea level and can often be colder than down in the valley. Please bear in mind though that your clothing needs to be suitable for spending extended periods of time in your vehicle.
Q. What about food and refreshments?
A. The vast majority of our tours especially our day tours you will need to bring along a picnic and refreshments for the day. We will have a short morning and afternoon break and a lunch break. Depending on your tour the lunch break can be in a remote area with limited facilities or in a village or market town. For our weekend and longer tours we build in stops for refreshments and shopping for provisions.
Q. How much time is dedicated to driving green roads?
A. Succinctly this depends on the tour you have chosen. Usually we aim to guarantee at least three quarters of your day on the trails and tracks. This type of driving can be both demanding to the vehicle, driver and passengers and on occasions strenuous both physically and mentally. We are acutely aware of this and constantly monitor the group’s interactions and take appropriate steps to ensure the day is enjoyable as possible.
Q. What else do I need to bring along?
A. A sense of adventure and you’re also welcome to bring along a camera including a video camera even one fitted to a drone if you’re so inclined and binoculars. We want you to enjoy your time with us and as the saying goes “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but foot prints”. Dogs (and cats) are also welcome however we recommend that they are kept under control and supervision at all times, especially when near livestock.
Q. What are the benefits of using a tag-a-long tour company?
A. I am sure many of you will have heard the expression “been there and done that!” But where you went was it legal to do so, did you know the people you were travelling with, were they experienced enough and could they be trusted to assist if and when the time came? You would be surprised! We don’t take risks unnecessarily.
We thoroughly research our trails and tracks for their legal status and we formally network with a wide variety of individuals and organisations, to ensure we are on the right track, we know our BOATs from our UCRs. We use digital mapping and record our routes for future reference each time we go out on the trails and tracks. As we drive our routes on a regular basis, we can spot changes in the landscape and environment. We know where the technical sections are, what settings you vehicle needs to be in to get you safely through, around or over an obstacle. We offer support and guidance throughout your time with us (before and after). Our vehicles carry bridging ladders to assist where needed with ground clearance. Our guide vehicles are extensively equipped with recovery equipment, first aid equipment and fire extinguishers so you don’t have to.
Q. Will I damage my vehicle?
A. We prefer to be open and honest with this question. We risk assess and manage all of our tours by likelihood and severity. We communicate our decisions and decision making processes to our customers so that they are informed and aware of the potential for damage depending as and when a situation arises. However we are not in the business of risk taking with our customers’ vehicles and should we consider a situation to have significant risk(s) we will back out or turn around. Some risks are inherent such as light scratches commonly known as bramble rash to paint work and wheels. To reduce the risk of scratches by branches and bramble we carry and will use tree loppers, saws and shears to remove branches and bramble. We use the matrix below to grade our tours.
Unfortunately no guarantee can be given that you will not damage your vehicle. Every person drives differently and vehicle handling can be affected by a multiple of factors being dependent on driver ability and confidence. The condition and road worthiness of your vehicle also plays a significant part. A well maintained vehicle to the manufacturer’s specification with preventative maintenance will fare much better than a vehicle with ad-hoc servicing and limited repairs. We do our best to avoid damage and if you follow our guidance there should be no damage sustained.
How we assess and grade our tours.