The town of Lutterworth in southern Leicestershire is where the engine for the UK's first ever jet engine was engineered by Sir Frank Whittle in the 1930s and 40s. It was fitted to the Gloster E.28/39, of which there is now a replica standing proudly as a tribute to Whittle on a roundabout on the outskirts of the town.

It was in a pub car park next to this roundabout that a group of Land Rover enthusiasts were meeting on a crisp November morning for a day of green laning.

In the group were three 110s, a clear favourite with green laners, as well as a shiny Discovery TD5 and two early Freelanders - far from standard.

I was hitching a ride in one of the 110s, a smart 200tdi driven by Martin Plewes who'd travelled down from North Yorkshire for the event.

The first lane was moments away, an ORPA (Other Route with Public Access) starting near the village of Walcote. It was a taste of things to come - an easy going track across fields with stunning views across Leicestershire and towards Northamptonshire. Things could have been made a little more interesting had the track been covered in snow. At one point, when a few drops of slightly slushy rain fell down from the cold sky, I did wonder.

Those who weren't paying attention were soon woken up by a few dodgy ruts on the next lane. Fortunately the leading 110s made enough fuss of them for the following Freelanders to sensibly keep right or else a tow might have been required.

Heading east on a BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic) towards Thornby we met a large convoy of vintage tractors enjoying a bit of light laning. Despite being in show condition, the owners were clearly happy to be getting them a bit muddy.

The next lane on our schedule, a BOAT just off the A5199 near Cottesbrook, had to be missed out as a TRO had been placed on it over winter to protect it from being churned up by off roaders. It's understandable why - a few of the lanes we'd driven that morning had been slightly muddy in places and we'd much rather use was restricted than vehicular access was banned completely.

A few more gentle lanes led us to us to our lunch halt, a nice picnic spot where stories of past green laning antics were told and the vehicles were checked for any damage. Unsurprisingly due to the nature of the lanes, there wasn't as much a scratch on the Land Rovers.

After lunch I jumped in with Patrick Horn in his tricked up Freelander 1. Fitted with a long list of off road goodies, including a 2 inch lift kit and Goodyear Wrangler AT tyres, Patrick's Freelander is the perfect tool for laning in this part of the country. Low range isn't needed on these muddy tracks - but traction control is a lifesaver. Fitted with the bulletproof pre-TD4 2.0 diesel, you can't tell this Freelander has done in excess of 150,000 miles.

Included in the itinerary for the afternoon was a drive along on BOAT across a deserted airfield, home of  the Carpetbagger Aviation Museum. Unfortunately the gate at the start of the route was locked, with a sign warning of constant surveillance due to illegal dumping. Luckily for us, however, an alternative route around the gate had been provided, marked with poles Land Rover width apart. It was tight, but with a bit of spotting the group all managed to squeeze through. A Transit van loaded with rubbish would have no chance!

This wasn't the only access issue, however, as after enjoying a nice drive along an ORPA later that afternoon we discovered the gate onto the road was padlocked. As we were coming to the decision that we had no choice but to turn around, we noticed  we were being watched by an elderly farmer on a quad bike. We politely approached him and asked why the gate was locked - we were sure we had a right to drive that track. He agreed, the route was open and we had done nothing wrong. He'd padlocked the gate, however, because he was worried about itinerants setting up camp on his field. This had caused another problem though, he'd had his gate barged down twice already that weekend. Whilst I don't condone this behaviour - if he'd blocked a legal right of way he was wrong to do so. Fortunately for us he agreed to fetch his keys and open the gate.

After a splash through a shallow ford, the day came to a premature end as the light started to disappear around mid afternoon. The rear lights on the lead 110, driven by David Bayliss, decided they didn't feel like working, and other members of the group were keen to call it a day due to other commitments.

The day was how a laning day should be - enjoyed by all who attended with no damage done to lane or Land Rover. We didn't do anything extreme, but it was a pleasant day in the countryside enjoying the winter sun.

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08/16/2012 08:41

sounds like a great day! me and a mate are planning on doing some greenlaning while the weather is good as he will be driving his work 4x4. just wanted to ask what os maps these lanes can be found on.


07/16/2014 09:27

Hi strange one but I own that freelander t671mrp?


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