'Off-roading’ is the term commonly used to describe the use of both motorcycles and four-wheel drive vehicles on what are usually unsurfaced roads, tracks and areas of land in the countryside.
Public and private routes
Off-roading often takes place on legal routes, such as Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs), or unsurfaced unclassified roads (UCRs). It sometimes occurs on private land or sites with the permission of the landowner. It is a strongly supported and legitimate sport providing a driving challenge presented by the nature of the terrain and often the chance to experience some of the more remote parts of the country.
Vehicles using BOATs and UCRs must be road legal, taxed and insured.
However in some places illegal use of land or rights of way for off-roading is a real problem and a source of conflict. Even legal driving may cause damage on susceptible surfaces (such as boggy, poorly drained terrain) and in some locations it can cause significant damage.
Damage to the environment
Off-roading can damage nature and conservation areas, historic land features, field boundaries and an area's visual amenities. Noise can also be an issue for local people and other recreational users of the routes.
A code of conduct for responsible motorised recreation can be found on the Treadlightly UK website.
Both the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales want communities and social enterprises to get the greatest possible benefit from the Woodland Estate. Woodlands and You aims to open the way for more people than ever to make the most of this resource.
For more information on ‘off-roading’, visit the Treadlightly website.
Treadlightly sets out to protect motorised recreational access opportunities through education, partnership working and conservation initiatives.
Visit the CCW archive to find out about projects that helped provide off-roading facilities and tackled illegal activity.