Green Lanes…the right of way!

As you know JGS4X4 like to stick to the rules! We have been talking a lot about off-roading in the last couple of weeks so I thought we would remind you of the ‘rules of Green Laning’ and how to find routes to explore.

Green Laning is best described as driving on the country’s network of largely unsurfaced infrequently used public byways for recreational purposes, or as we call it ‘off-roading’. We all love to do it but do we all know the rules?

Green Lanes and who can use them?

These routes are publicly owned and maintained by their local Highways Authority and they are open to the general public. Any local bylaws in place for the areas the routes are in, or for the routes themselves must be adhered to – and often take precedence over the right of way itself.

Laws regarding the use of vehicles on the road also apply to these routes despite being known as “off-road”; therefore driving licenses, MOT’s and insurance must be in place and valid for the vehicles being used and their drivers.

Rights of way on “Green Lanes”

Although there appear to be no legal rights of one user over another it is generally accepted that motorised vehicles should give way to cyclists, horses and pedestrians. “Green Lanes” should be considered “Shared Use” routes so common decency should apply. A fair and sensible approach should be taken by all users to ensure their enjoyment by all those wishing to use them.

Types of Public Byways

Under the Countryside and Public Rights of Way Act 2000 no legal standing is given to the term “Green Lane”; instead there are currently 4 categories of Public Rights of Way in the UK. Not all are suitable for use by motorised vehicles and motorised vehicles are not permitted to use all types of byways.

The 4 rights of way are:

1. Footpath: Pedestrian use only
2. Bridleway: Pedestrians, horse traffic and cyclists
3. Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT of just ‘Byway’): Open to all types of traffic but normally unsurfaced and therefore only passable by 4×4 vehicle, ‘off-road’ bikes, pedestrians, horses and cyclists.
4. Restricted Byway (RB): Allows horses, pedestrians and vehicles other than mechanically propelled vehicles i.e. horse-drawn carriages.

Each of these types of Rights of Way is shown on Ordnance Survey (OS) maps of England and Wales but not of Scotland. Make sure you are aware of them all!

A great Green Laning resource


While researching Green Laning recently I came across a useful website that details all the BOATs that can be driven off-road with your Land Rover in the UK. You can zoom into areas of your choice and find routes that can be legally driven.

This is a great little resource but I would recommend having a good look at your area and check the accuracy. However, it looked accurate for the routes around our area.

Click here: Byway

If you go to the ‘about’ button you will find the ’key’ to this website (note these are different from OS maps)

Another useful Green Laning resource is GLASS – Green Lane Association

Remember to ALWAYS abide by the rules and do not give 4X4 drivers a bad name.

For all your Land Rover Parts & Accessories visit JGS4X4

Posted in Hints & Tips
5 comments on “Green Lanes…the right of way!
  1. Chris Glasspool says:

    I think you have added to a general confusion. Byways are not off-road, they are unsurfaced roads. All road law applies, and you should not leave the legal track. Off-road activities should be restricted to Pay-and-Play sites, where anything goes. Byway map website is very poor in Northamptonshire, either missing or incorrect. Check out the local Facebook page for GLASS, for up to date info.

  2. Richard says:

    Byway map link does not work sadly

  3. GARY WILLIAMS says:

    Cheers very handy Byway map not 100% up to date ref local lane’s but great for a quick look guide

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