There are 15 National Parks in Britain. If you put them all together, they’d cover a whopping 10% of the land area in England and Wales. They’re full of tall trees, green clearings, running water and even some decidedly more rugged terrain. Combine that with some beautiful blue skies (or even overcast grey ones), and where better for an afternoon outside off-road in your Landy?
Around this time of the year the appeal to do exactly that gets even stronger. The weather gets warmer, the nights get longer, and in typical times a two-week celebration called Discover National Parks Fortnight takes place right around now.
These aren’t typical times, sadly – and National Parks Fortnight was postponed because of Covid in both 2020 and 2021. But that won’t stop us exploring three of the best places to go off-road in your Land Rover.
Before we dig fully into our suggestions, we think it’s important to say that all drivers should take care when driving in and around our National Parks.
They’re true beauty spots, where considerate driving, and sticking to established trails wherever possible, will go a long way towards preserving the epic scenery that takes us all there in the first place.
The Lake District
We start our feature on going off-road in National Parks with the UK’s largest National Park – and one of the furthest north! Set in Cumbria, the Lake District is a huge and breath-taking expanse of 885 square miles packed with 16 lakes, over 150 high peaks, six nature reserves and 400 towns and villages to rest your head in after a long day of on and off-road adventuring.
Done right, the Lake District is easily one of the best places to go off-roading with a Land Rover, and one of the best ways to do that take in the epic scenery is on Kankku’s 4x4 Off-Road Safari. On it, you’ll be given an ex-army Land Rover Defender 90 and taught intelligent driving techniques to help preserve the local landscape. They offer both guided and unguided several driving experiences. Our advice? Take the guided one – then once you’ve done that once, there’s nothing stopping you hopping in your own Landy and getting back out there on your own!
From the largest National Park in the UK to the largest one in Wales, Snowdonia National Park spreads right out across 823 square miles and is home to some 26,000 people – half of whom speak Welsh as their first language.
Snowdonia is also a real land of contrasts, from the snow-topped highest peak in the UK at Mount Snowden, through miles of incredible countryside, and right down to gorgeous sandy beaches at places like Dinas Dinille and Black Rock Sands.
One of our best Land Rover off-roading tips for the region is to consider this camping experience from 90 Dirty Adventures. For £800 per driver and £150 per passenger you’ll set out from Liverpool and spend two days driving through the 600-acre working forest, then up high hills to take in the view by the Barmouth estuary. All before returning to basecamp for a knees-up and some campfire stories!
Don’t fancy camping? This 4x4 Off Road Driving experience based in North Wales promises to help you learn off-roading techniques in a purpose-built trail park.
And now to the southernmost location on our list. Dartmoor National Park is famed for its wild open moorlands and deep river valleys, and at 368 square miles is roughly the same size as London. Now in its 70th year as a National Park, Dartmoor’s varied terrain and rich local wildlife make this a true treat to explore.
Having said that, being so boggy, driving around most of rural Dartmoor can be at best troublesome and at worst harrowing. Where possible, we’d advise sticking to roads until you get to a suitable off-roading location. In particular, we hear the B3212 road from Exeter to Yelverton gives an especially scenic view!
As suitable off-road spots go, however, the timber extraction track at Bovey Castle in the heart of the Park offers an exhilarating and unique experience (or it will when it reopens later this year!). You’ll have to pay to use the on-site Landies (or you could try asking very, very nicely about using your own!), but the combination of instructor-led drives, or drives incorporating archery or shooting, make it a worthwhile recommendation that’s fun not just for Land rover enthusiasts, but for the whole family. Definitely one of the best places to go off-roading with a land rover, as well as one of the most surprising!
Thinking of exploring the National Parks this spring or summer?
Whether you’re going off-road In National Parks, or just heading out for an afternoon in town, make sure you have everything you need to secure your prized Landy and deter would-be thieves.
Not sure what you need? Get in touch and we’ll talk through your options.