If you’re looking for more than just a change of scenery for your holiday this year, why not try something a little more adventurous than your standard city break? We all know that the staycation is more popular than ever before, so if you’re set on sticking to the UK, you could try off-roading. The UK is home to many stretches of breath-taking countryside after all, so why not experience it properly (mud included!).
This guide will take you through some of the top off-roading locations in the country, as well as telling you all of the skills you’ll need before you set off on your off-road adventure.
Check your skill level
Once you have your set of wheels sorted for an off-roading holiday, the next matter that you will want to think about is how well your driving skills are off-road. Fortunately, we are here to help if you reckon your knowledge is lacking when driving on sand, through water and in the mud.
Do you think an off-road drive will take you onto a beach? You will want to be in a low gear when travelling across sand and maintaining a steady momentum. Lowering your tyre pressure, possibly to 15psi as a minimum, will also see you creating a larger surface area. In the event that your wheels begin to spin on sand, don’t panic and instead take your foot off the throttle and slow your car’s tyres so that you can regain traction. Parking in sand should also be done on a downward slope, as you’ll find it much easier to pull away once you get moving again.
If it’s water that’s blocking your route from A to B when off-road, take a cautious approach to begin with and drive through it slowly to start with and then work on increasing the momentum steadily. Just don’t follow another vehicle instantly into the water, as unsettled water adds to the challenge of achieving safe passage. Slipping or riding the clutch should definitely be avoided too, due to this action resulting in you losing control of the vehicle.
Moving onto mud, there are a few aspects to consider. Steady momentum is the way to go when travelling through deep batches of mud, with a vehicle’s tyres looking to cut through mud in order to pinpoint traction that’s achieved on firmer ground that’s located underneath. Refrain from losing your nerve in the event wheels do begin to spin mind, as you will just need to ease off the throttle and then slow the tyres until grip is regained.
Driving through mud may also see you encountering ruts — long deep tracks which have come about from the repeated passage of vehicles. Deep ruts should be straddled, due to this limiting the environmental impact to a minimum. Then there’s muddy hills which you might need to climb up, whereby you should be seeking to gain momentum so to counter the decrease that you feel in traction. Do everything possible to avoid wheel spins when ascending muddy hills as well — you’ll lose momentum and cause damage to the environment otherwise.
Vehicle and accessories for off-roading
You won’t go wrong with picking a 4×4, such as a Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE, when experiencing the amazing sights and sounds which make up an off-roading holiday.
For one thing, vehicles which offer four-wheel drive provide motorists with impressive levels of grip and control when crossing slippery surfaces. Due to the engine’s power being distributed across all four wheels once the vehicle is moving, there is less chance of it becoming stuck while getting from A to B across various terrains too. The power available within a 4×4 means that you should also have little trouble getting the vehicle over obstacles and up even steep hills.
Furthermore, both you as the driver and any family and friends that you bring along for an off-roading holiday will appreciate the large amount of leg room, head room and extra space that a 4×4 provides when compared to the average car.
There are also plenty of accessories available for off-road driving. Most 4×4 vehicles come with off-road lighting as standard but it’s definitely wise to invest in something that can produce a lower and wider beam if you’re going to be driving in the countryside. A driving lamp can be fitted below the bumper, giving you more light and increased visibility on difficult terrain.
The best places to go off-roading in the UK
Ultra Adventure Driving
Located close to some of the most impressive mountain ranges in Wales (including Snowdonia) Ultra Adventure Driving is home to two off-road sites which have been purpose built for 4x4s. The sites are catered to individual skill levels, so you’ll never feel out of your depth and with waterways, steep climbs and plenty of mud, you’ll be in for a real off-road adventure!
There are also 20 off-road sites located all over the UK with various terrains and features for you to enjoy. Whilst some of the terrain presents an extreme challenge for the more experienced 4×4 driver, others are non-damaging to vehicles and safe for beginners.
Silverstone off-road experience
Although Silverstone is known for its driving track, this isn’t typically thought of as an off-road friendly location. Luckily, there is a purpose-built area dedicated to the off-road experience, offering a variety of obstacles and unique driving challenges. The experience can also be tailored to suit your needs, so don’t worry if you’re not an expert!
You can also opt to receive one on one guidance from an experienced instructor as you attempt to tackle five different challenges.
The Wild Tracks off road circuit in Suffolk is perfect for those of us who enjoy a bit of mud! With 3 tracks available, the most famous of which is the sandy Chippenham track, there’s something to suit every need here. Obstacles include deep sandy soil and a large watering hole (filed with mud, of course)!
This track is a popular choice for team building exercises and birthday parties. There’s even an outdoor go-karting track for the kids. Due to its popularity it can get quite busy during the summer, so be sure to book well in advance if you plan on going.