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Myth busters

Many green lanes show very little signs of use, contrary to the media image of convoys of 4x4 destroying the countryside. Sadly this has become popular belief, so much is the power of the press.

Myth busters

Many lanes can take sustained use of rercreational vehciular traffic. Even lanes with a soft surface can take a certain amount of traffic leaving very little evidence of their passing. With a change of attitude and co-operation, we can all co-exist without TROs.

Myth busters

Not all green lanes are tight and narrow. Many have widths of over 40 feet, much like the rest of the minor road network. Just because they escaped being covered in tarmacadem doesn’t make them any different.

Myth busters

Byways are for all classes of user. It is the highest class of right of way and recreational vehicular users should respect all other users. Restricted Byways are for all users except recreational vehicular users, but there are sometimes exceptions to this rule.

Myth busters

The definition of a Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) is a highway over which the public have a right of way for vehicular and all other kinds of traffic but which is used by the public mainly for the purposes for which footpaths and bridleways are used.

Myth busters

Many unsealed roads are actually surfaced. This one is a flint track, the flint coming from the surrounding fields. Each parish would have been responsible in the past for the upkeep of their roads. Many still more sustainable than their tarmac cousins.

Can you help us?

Did you used to green lane in the 80s or 90s or early 2000’s? Do you know anyone who did? If so please email our Magazine Editor via our contact page under GLASS Officers. Thanks.

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U5257 Gatescarth Pass: permit system for motorcycles, 4x4 vehicles and horseriders


From 4 November 2004 a permit system has applied to all motorcyclists, horseriders and 4x4 drivers. The pass is open for vehicles one day a month. Please look at:


Green Road Gatescarth Pass Map (PDF)

Gatescarth Pass Traffic Regulations Order 2004 (PDF)

To reduce damage on the track all routes will now be North to South.


What you need to know before applying for a permit

1. Use of Gatescarth Pass by motor vehicles is regulated by Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in accordance with The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Contravention of a TRO is a motoring offence punishable by fine and / or penalty points.

2. Sections of Gatescarth Pass have a fragile and vulnerable surface that is very difficult to maintain. If use is to continue, riders and drivers have to use it with great respect and care. You must read the Driver and rider guidance before applying for a permit. It will be the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all the riders and drivers in his/her group read the Driver and rider guidance before the permit day.

3. 4x4 vehicles are not permitted from December to March inclusive each year. This is to safeguard the most vulnerable sections of the Pass from disturbance.

4. Mountain bikers can use the Pass at any time. However they will need to lift bikes over the locked gates.

5. Horse riders can apply for a permit at any time. They can get the lock combination for the gates up until the next vehicle permit day.

6. Gatescarth Pass is open for one day per month to users of recreational motor vehicles who have been issued with an authorising permit by the Lake District National Park Authority (subject to conditions below). Permit days are the first Friday, Saturday or Sunday of each month. To reduce damage on the track all routes will now be North to South. Forthcoming dates are:



Saturday 11 January – motorcycles only

Friday 7 February – motorcycles only

Saturday 1 March – motorcycles only

Sunday 6 April

Friday 2 May

Saturday 7 June

Sunday 6 July

Friday 1 August

Saturday 6 September

Sunday 5 October

Friday 7 November

Saturday 6 December  – motorcycles only 


7. In the event of bad weather and ground conditions open days will be cancelled.  

8. Decision to cancel will be based on the series of monthly inspections of route condition, previous weather conditions and weather forecasts. Information will be posted on this web page, by email, on the voicemail of Ranger Steve Tatlock on 01539 792698 ext 2733. However the ultimate responsibility to check if the permit is valid and the permit day is to go ahead lies with the permit holder.

9. The gate-lock combination number issued to permit holders will apply from 9 am to 4 pm on the permit day, and it is the permit holders responsibility to lock the gate behind them. All users should be off the route by 4 pm at the latest. Please remember the gate-lock combination number will be changed after 4pm.

10. 4x4 vehicles with a wheelbase of over 100 inch are not permitted to drive Gatescarth Pass. This is because of the damage caused by larger 4 x 4s. Please read the Driver and rider guidance for more detailed information. You will be refused access on the permit day if your vehicle does not meet these requirements.

11. It is each permit holder's responsibility to prove and ensure that their vehicle falls within the wheelbase limits, that their vehicle is suitably equipped for the conditions to be encountered on the route, and that all persons listed on the permit know the Driver and rider guidance.

12. A maximum of 12 4 x 4s or quad bikes (in groups of two, three or four vehicles) will be permitted on any one permit day.

13. A maximum of 18 motorcycles (in groups of two, three four, five or six vehicles) will be allowed on each permit day.

14. For 4 x 4s and quad bikes the permit allows one pass of the route in one direction only - North to South.

15. Motorcyclists can return over the Pass if they wish and can start from either the North or the South side.  Please be aware vehicles may be coming in the opposite direction; give way as necessary, particularly if they are ascending.

16. 4x4 users and quad bikes must be at the locked gate on the Mardale side no later than 1pm. Access will not be allowed after this time.


Associated routes

Since the enactment of the Natural Environment Rural Communities Act 2006 Katebarrow Lane at Garnett Bridge (off A6 north of Kendal, between Grid References. SD520998 and SD527993) is now closed to motor vehicles.


How to apply

17. Download either the:

Gatescarth vehicle permit application form (Word document)

Gatescarth horserider permit application form (Word document)

Email the filled-in version as an attachment to Vikki.Senior@lakedistrict.gov.uk or by post to:


Lake District National Park Authority
Murley Moss
Oxenholme Road
Kendal LA9 7RL

The permit holder must ensure that all drivers and riders named on the permit have read and understood the Driver and rider guidance.

18. The permit application requires the registration number of each vehicle, the name of each rider / driver, and for 4 wheeled vehicles, and the length of the wheelbase.


During the week before the permit day

19. A permit will be sent to the applicant with the relevant permit day date and other information.

20. One permit will cover all the vehicles in a club or organisation's application, subject to the limits of four 4 x 4s, quad bikes and six motorcycles. The minimum number of vehicles in any application is two to facilitate self-recovery. This also applies to motorcycles.


After you've received your permit and before you visit Gatescarth Pass

21. On the Thursday before a permit day permit holders must phone the Lake District National Park Authority on 01539 724555 to be given the combination code for the gate locks. The codes will apply from 9 am to 4 pm on the permit days. Permit holders will be permitted to lock and unlock the gates themselves. Our staff will continue to carry out patrols. Permit holders must not share lock codes with others nor invite other users to join their permitted groups.

22. Individual applicants will normally be issued only one permit in any calendar year. If demand is low and not all permits or numbers are filled, this could be increased.

23. This system has been developed and agreed by the Gatescarth Pass Working Group. It consists of National Park Authority staff and representatives from motorcycle and 4 x 4 groups, Cumbria Bridleways Society and Friends of the Lake District. Any changes to this system will be recommended by the Group. Contravention of a TRO is a motoring offence punishable by fine and / or penalty points.


For more information

Contact Victoria Senior, telephone 01539 792646, email Vikki.Senior@lakedistrict.gov.uk  or write to:


Lake District National Park Authority
Murley Moss
Oxenholme Road
Kendal LA9 7RL