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Green lanes

The use of motor vehicles on the 'green lanes' of the Yorkshire Dales is an emotive issue. It can be a source of complaint by residents and visitors alike. Irresponsible and illegal use makes this situation worse. We have worked with LARA and the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF), county councils and conservation bodies to produce this guidance leaflet for 4x4 users and motorcycle riders:

The main points 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

Which routes can motor vehicles use?

A Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) has proven rights for motor vehicles. Details of BOATs in the Yorkshire Dales National Park can be downloaded below:

Motor vehicle users also regularly use a number of unsurfaced unclassified roads (UURs) which have possible, but unproven, rights for motor vehicles. Anyone requiring details about which routes are on the 'list of streets' should contact the relevant county council. North Yorkshire County Council provides excellent mapped information at www.northyorks.gov.uk (use the 'maps' link at the top of the home page). You could also look at www.trailwise.org.uk 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.

From 1 August 2016 the National Park will be extended to cover new areas in the Lune Valley and around the Orton Fells area. Currently 'green lanes' in this area have management which has been agreed by Cumbria County Council. Details of routes in these areas are available on the Council website.

Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs)

There are currently restrictions in place on a number of routes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which are either for management reasons or for essential maintenance work. You can download a copy of the current permanent restrictions below.

North Yorkshire County Council have placed a temporary TRO on Deadman's Hill which commenced on 4 April 2016 and runs through to 3 October 2017. This is to protect the road from further damage. This is the route that runs between Arkleside in Coverdale and Scar House Reservoir.

Voluntary restraint agreements

A voluntary restraint agreement has been placed on Ravenstonedale Moor. This requests motor vehicle users not to use the route unless they can stay on the correct line and leave minimal evidence of passage. LARA, the TRF and GLASS state that this route was not constructed to take the weight and power of modern vehicles. sections remain wet and vulnerable for long periods. Inappropriate use will seriously damage the fragile moorland surface.

Routes where rights have been extinguished

Apart, possibly, from some very rare exceptions the NERC Act means it is illegal to ride a motorcycle or other motor vehicle on anything which is recorded on the Definitive Map as a Bridleway or Footpath or Restricted Byway (up to date OS maps are the readily available nearest indication of this). This also includes a number of routes that are recorded on both the definitive map and the 'list of streets' and are sometimes known as dual status routes.

The table below gives details of footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and 'dual status' routes that were used by motor vehicles prior to the NERC Act in the belief that they might have motor vehicular rights. The NERC Act extinguishes the possibility of motor vehicular rights on these routes. There have been a number of applications received by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to upgrade footpaths and bridleways to Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs). However, for all these applications it is believed that the highest status they will result in is a Resticted Byway - that is a route which can be used only by foot, cycle, horse, or horse and carriage, but not by recreational motor vehicles.

The NERC Act contains five exemptions to extinguishment of mechanically propelled vehicular rights. The onus is on the user to prove that rights should not be extinguished, based on one or more of the exemptions. Until then, mechanically propelled vehicular rights remain extinguished.

Green lanes management

You can find out more about how these decisions were reached in Green lanes management.

Managing green lanes

Information on how green lanes have been prioritised for management and how decisions are made ...

Types of paths

Find out about the different types of paths and who can use them.

Essential visitor info

How to get here, where to stay and more.

Get outdoors

Find out about walking, cycling, mountain biking and horse riding

Walking

Get inspiration whether you want family-friendly ambles or long-distance challenge >

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