Category Archives: Green Lanes

Guide to finding Green Lanes

Although technically there is no legal definition of a greenlane it is generally accepted to be a road without a sealed surface. This can be anything from sand, mud, gravel, even underwater.

The term ‘Offroad’ is a bit misleading as green lanes are subject to the same laws as all roads – the vehicle (either bike or 4×4 etc) must be fully road-legal and must have:

  •  display a current road vehicle licence (tax disc);
  •  have a valid MoT certificate of road-worthiness;
  •  have valid standard road-use insurance;

The two basic ones you can legally use are firstly:

Byways Open to All Traffic, also known as B.O.A.T.s or just “Byways”

Marked on ordnance survey maps as alternating dashes and crosses


In red at 1:50,000 scale (Landranger Maps) or


Green at 1:25,000 scale (Explorer Maps)

These are the only “Rights of Way” open to motor vehicles.


You will know about A roads (RED), B Roads (Brown) but there are also C,D,E and F class roads shown in Yellow.  These and usually unsurfaced (so of interest to us) are Unclassied Roads.

Usually called Unclassified County Roads, also known as “UCRs” or “White Roads”. Shown on OS Maps as a road but in white (as opposed to Red, Brown or Yellow).
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Solid lines means fences/walls/hedges, dotted lines if its open country.

Now marked on OS Maps as “ORPA” (Other Route With Public Access) by a series of larger round dots printed over the road (red or green as above).

Check out the TRAILWISE website for specific information. Use Search/View to find lanes, the “Find Tracks Near a Place” function is very useful. This can bring up Google Maps of a specified area, the brown and red tracks are the ones you want.

In addition to the Map info if you arrive at a lane that seems to be legal on the map but shows this sign


It has a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on it and you CAN NOT use  it.

If it is the version of the sign with just the car (no bike) you can use the lane on a bike but not a 4×4.

If you arrive at a Unclassified Country Road (White Road / ORPA / UCR) and find this sign:


Don’t worry, it means that it IS a legal road, just not recommended for ROAD cars or bikes.

Make sure when using Green Lanes to use them responsible and to not damage the lanes.

Which routes / Green lanes can I use??

Which routes / Green lanes can I use??  This is a question often asked.

Many Green Lanes are classed as A Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) which have proven rights for motor vehicles how ever many 4×4 and off roaders also regularly use a number of unsurfaced unclassified roads (UURs) which have possible, but unproven, rights for motor vehicles. Anyone requiring details concerning which routes are on the ‘list of streets’ should contact the relevant county council.

North Yorkshire County Council provides excellent mapped information on their website, (use the ‘maps’ link at the top of the home page).

You could also look at which shows routes in the National Park. Although we cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of this external website, it does appear to show the up-to-date status of most routes.

Many routes can be found on ordnance survey maps.

Using Green Lanes in the North East, Cleveland and North Yorkshire

The use of motor and 4×4 vehicles on the ‘green lanes’  is an emotive issue, and is offen a source of complaint by residents and visitors alike. Irresponsible and illegal use of these green lane had make the situation worse.

The National Park Authority has worked with the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF), county councils and conservation bodies to produce guidance to all user of green lanes in 4×4’s. The Mains points to follow are:

  • Use only motor vehicular rights of way. It is illegal to drive on footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways or over open land without the owners permission;
  • Make sure you and your vehicle are fully road legal
  • Be courteous to other users and landowners
  • Travel slowly and in small groups
  • Keep to the defined track
  • Exercise restraint in the use of unsurfaced routes in wet conditions
  • Help protect wildlife, especially ground nesting birds

Irresponsible use of green lanes and damaging green lanes by churning them up or leaving the track and damaging the moors has lead to many green lanes in the North East being closed off to Vehicles.

Please use green lanes responsible and help keep them open for us all to us!