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BOAT: Byways Open to All Traffic

PUBLIC BYWAYS: Four-wheel drive off road enthusiasts use an Ordinance Survey map to find the best public byways in the United Kingdom.

A BOAT map will highlight green lanes in the south east and Kent Byways Open to All Traffic. That is the place for filthy thrills without leaving your car!

The British rural countryside is riddled with hundreds of unexplored muddy bridleways and overgrown paths. These make superb 4x4 green laning tracks - providing they are not 'Restricted Byways' (RB).

Most people drive a vehicle for work or for pleasure. Those who do often find driving a bit of a chore and boring at times.

Well, there is an escape route! An 'off-road' land of mud-spattered adventure and discovery is right around the corner.

The question all 4x4 off-roaders want to know is 'where are the best green lane courses near me'? How to find the ones which very few people have experienced before?

There is some good news on this topic. It is not true that every road has already 'been travelled'. This is also the case around the popular Home Counties byways in Kent and Hampshire. This is where we based our research for this article.

BOATs are the best-kept secret for green laning off roaders. Take a good look at an Ordinance Survey map. You should be able to identify Byways Open to All Traffic near your location. The UK's littered with unsurfaced rough roads and enchanting forest tracks hiding in the wilderness.

As a rule, in fact the rule is the 1968 Countryside Act and Under Public Rights of Way Law (PROW). It means you can legally drive a car along these unmaintained ancient tracks and public thoroughfares.

Byways Open to All Traffic: Definition

Driving on Byways Open to All Traffic (BOAT) in England and WalesThere is a simple definition of a Byway Open to All Traffic. It is a highway where the public have a right of way for vehicular traffic.

But, they are byways that also get used by the public. They use them for the same purposes as footpaths and bridleways. Typical reasons include walking, horse riding, or cycling.

Note: A Restricted Byway allows a right of way on foot, on horseback, leading a horse, and cycling. It is also for any vehicles other than 'mechanically' propelled vehicles.

So, wait a moment before you head off into the mud-caked countryside. You may need some preparation to go green laning safely. If you are not equipped with one of the proper 4x4 off road vehicles (or trail bike), acquiring one is the best place to begin.

Note: The vast majority of Byways Open to All Traffic are deep and rutted. They contain a lot of water, rough gravel, deep mud, and loose sand.

Thus, taking your shiny new Bentley Bentayga SUV for a spin off road may not be a smart move. This is especially so if you have concerns about getting the paintwork tarnished.

It is also worth pointing out the main reason they get called 'green lanes'. It is because 'green' is usually all you can see from the cockpit when you venture from the tarmac.

Green foliage, trees, brambles and scratchy vegetation thrive in spring and summertime in the 4x4 byways of Kent and Hampshire. You might need a four-wheel drive monster machine to handle the terrain. You will if you hit the dirty, rain-soaked forests at Woodlands 4x4 Pay and Play course.

Best 4x4 for Kent Byways

The best 4x4 and SUV models for a green laning experience would be a well-worn one. It does not matter how many knocks, scratches, and dents your car already has. There is no doubt it will acquire a few more once you take it off road.

It is not uncommon for green laners to own a modified 4WD fit for the purpose. Often, the best green laning 4x4 comes complete with high lift suspension kits (for ride height). They also have knobby off-road tyres (for maximum grip and traction).

If you get hooked into green laning, you should think about getting a hydraulic winch. This is a must to pull yourself - and others - out of deep muddy ditches. Equipping your behemoth with a bank of spotlights will also help to illuminate your way through the darkness.

Note: Inclinometers are handy off road gear accessories used to check the steepness of an ascent or descent.