Byways and green lanes - are they all the rage, or just invoking rage?

Green lane enthusiasts in North East Wales are defending their right to use green lanes and byways in the area - whilst others are trying to block them up.

Sinnis T125 offroad

BYWAYS and green lanes are quite literally dotted all over the country, once upon a time being the main routes between villages and towns but now forgotten by 90% of vehicles who stick to main roads. Despite thoughts otherwise, byways and green lanes are completely legal to use for road-legal vehicles. 

As reported by the Shropshire Star, green lane enthusiasts are having to defend their right to use these lanes in the Ceirog Valley near Chirk, in North East Wales. This comes after local politicians met police and residents in the area following reports that ‘people don’t feel safe using the local lanes because of the off-road vehicles’. 

PCSO Gareth Jones, speaking on behalf of the local community, said:

“… people no longer feel safe walking, horse riding or cycling in the area. The lack of maintenance of the lanes over the years, with sheer rock and in places deep mud, has created the perfect conditions for off-road motorbikes as they use it as a scrambling track.”

But Lauren Eaton, speaking for the group Green Lane Association (Glass) who represent all users of vehicular rights of way in the UK, says their ‘offer of considerable funding, volunteer labour & general assistance to repair and maintain some routes in the area was accepted and never followed up’.

In the past & present, popular lanes in the North East Wales area and routes such as ‘Whitestone’ have been blocked by people leaving boulders, tree stumps and purpose-built metal caltrops to impede progress. Those doing this have never been identified, despite the fact they are the ones breaking the law - not those legally using the lanes.

What are the rules for riding on byways and green lanes?

It’s simple; play by the rules and ride on road-legal vehicles (with MOT, tax, insurance), and everything will be grand. 

So long as it’s a public byway, you have the right to use it & enjoy it like any other road. Trail riding is some of the most fun to be had on two wheels, and often within a stone's throw of your house.

Just remember it’s road legal bikes only, so you can’t drive there with your bikes in a van and expect to get away with it. 

And stick to the designated trails, byways & green lanes open to all. Straying off-piste will piss off landowners and cause the issues that police forces are starting to come down on. But, I hazard to guess that if you’re reading this, chances are you’re one of the majority who can obey the basic rules. 

Realistically, it’s the minority that spoils it for the rest of us. In my ‘neck of the woods’ (read: in the sticks) there are trails and byways aplenty, it’s just a matter of finding them. 

Where can I find local byways and green lanes?

Finding byways is part of the fun - whether scrawling over maps and databases online, chatting to local riders on your travels or just heading out and keeping your neck on a swivel, you’ll find where you need to be. 

When you get a taste for byway riding, you’ll find yourself looking down every track that spins off into the abyss thinking ‘can I get down there?’ and ‘ I wonder where that goes!’. You genuinely unlock a new segment of riding if you can get the right bike for it. 

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