Due to a special request from a group of Belgium fellows, spending the weekend in Bristol, we decided to run the South Wales Valley's route.
With their mix of there vehicles consisting of a fully equipped 90 with roll cage and a very shiny V8 G-Wagon on road tyres, we needed to run an interesting but non damaging route. The Valleys route was ideal with plenty of interest for everyone. Joining the group were two Discovery's, a 300TDI and a TD5, both on road tyres.
Saturday started bright and early and we had a glorious sunny day to enjoy the views across the hills. We all meet up on time at Magor Services and were on our way before 9:30am.
I expected the route to be fairly dry following a relatively dry month, but the first lane above Cwmbran proved a little trickier than expected, with one of the Disco's getting bogged near the end. A quick tug has us all moving again.
Just after our morning coffee break we found the next lane barred by boulders. Being confidant that this was a legal lane and with no sign of an official restriction, we were able to navigate a route around the obstruction. I suspect the boulders were there to stop fly tipping which is unfortunately all to common blot on the landscape in this area. The obstruction has been reported to the local authority.
Being the traditional industrial heartland of South Wales, the hills are subject to many pressures, especially illegal offroading and fly tipping and it's a real shame that a few mindless idiots have to spoil it for the rest of us. However looking beyond this, there are some splendid views and a very interesting mix of natural beauty and industrial past that are unique to the area.
In the early afternoon, we had a little more difficulty when we found a section of the lane wetter than expected. The 90 and the G-Wagon made it through without trouble, demonstrating the advantages of axle diff locks fitted on the G-Wagon and, of course, the awesome power of its V8 Diesel. The following Discovery's were not so lucky, having lost momentum they failed to make the hill and we again had to resort to the tow rope to clear the section.
The final lane of the day added an unexpected bit of spice. This is a partially sunken and tree lined section in the Afan valley. While my lifted Discovery made it past some of the tight squeezes without any issue, the following 90 with both a lift and the added height of the roll cage had a tougher time, rubbing through on a few of the lower branches. We knew this would not work for the G-Wagon, as it was far to nice to “rub” against a tree. However, with some careful marshalling, a few bodies in the back and a trim here and there to the worst of the branches, we were able to clear the G-Wagon thorough the section without a scratch. The two following Discos were easily able to clear the section. This somewhat surprised me and made me realise how much squarer the rear of the G-wagon was and how the more rounded shape of the Discovery's made them an easier fit. I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised as so many Greenlanes in the UK are “Land Rover” shaped.
This was a very successful and fun day out. A great alternative to Salisbury Plain for non damaging Green Laning.