The Green Lane Association – helping you plan your next adventure! Words and pictures by Lauren Eaton. Green Laning is an enjoyable hobby for many within the 4×4 community. An opportunity to get away from it all, leave the hustle and bustle behind, turn off the tarmac and head out into the stunning countryside that the UK has to offer. But, as we all know it can sometimes feel like a bit of a minefield; where can I legally drive? What’s the terrain going to be like when I turn off the paved highway? Has this lane been closed? Just like the seasons, lanes change, legalities change and no one wants to fall foul of the law, so the Green Lane Association is here to help.
Run by and for green laning enthusiasts, the Green Lane Association opened its collective knowledge to the public back in 1995, making it the longest running 4×4 vehicular user group in the UK. The idea is to bring the community together to enjoy the huge network of unsurfaced rights of way in a safe, enjoyable and sustainable manner. GLASS fights to keep our hobby alive and well and they do this in a variety of ways.
Membership of the organisation firstly gives you access to TrailWise2, currently the most comprehensive green laning mapping tool available. Not only does TW2 give lane locations, but also designations, current TROs, voluntary restraints, etc, but more than that it allows users to record their comments and even add photographs. If you want to know where a lane is, if you can drive it legally and what the terrain is like before you head along the route, TW2 can give you those answers. Recording route usage is also vitally important to keeping these ancient byways open, if GLASS can prove usage then it is less likely that lanes will be closed permanently.
Working alongside the technology, GLASS have a UK wide network of local reps at your disposal, people who are passionate about laning and know their local area well who can advise you on all aspects of your hobby. These motivated volunteers also work with local councils, land owners and authorities to organise and fundraise for maintenance work, sign posting and repairs.
Area reps organise all sorts of events, laning days, pub meets, maintenance days, show stands, fundraisers, there is always something to join in with that gives a little back to our community at large. As an organisation GLASS has a voice right up to government level, they speak for us as a community where it really makes a difference, challenging closures in court, proving that our community contributes time, money and effort into ensuring our lanes are driven responsibly and that we assist in maintaining these routes for future generations to drive. Recently some of the most iconic routes, Happy Valley and the Wayfarer, have been discussed with GLASS and maintenance plans put in place to return them to their former glory.
Wooton Lane in Shropshire has been saved from proposed closure thanks to discussions with local GLASS reps and volunteers, these are just a few examples of many from the last 6 months. This information is shared with members through monthly bulletins, their Green Lanes magazine, forum and area Facebook groups.
Twenty four years of representing the 4×4 world has given GLASS a solid and respected position within many councils, user groups and the laning community at large. Membership fees are directly pumped back into the organisation and their Fighting Fund, TrailWise2 goes from strength to strength with updates from their ever increasing member community –
GLASS is committed to keeping your green laning adventures alive for years to come!
LEAVE NO TRACE Every country throughout Europe and beyond have different laws when it comes to wild camping and driving in remote areas and all of these laws should be respected.
As pressure on our landscapes from recreational use continues to increase it is now as important as ever for us all to abide by the Leave No Place principles. It goes without saying that the vast majority of tourers and campers do respect their environment but unfortunately we will also have a minority who do not and give us all a bad name. not and give us all a bad name.