Video: Chad goes off-roading

As outdoor pursuits and motorsports centres ever more popular, Chad reporter Ben McVay, tried out off-road driving at one nestled in a beautiful spot just off the A614, near Bilsthorpe.

If you have ever ragged your Fiesta round a corner with the handbrake on when it is snowing like Colin McCrae on a rally stage then you would think four-wheel driving would be just the ticket.

Chad reporter Ben McVay has  a go at 4x4 driving at Lockwell Hill Activity Centre

Chad reporter Ben McVay has a go at 4x4 driving at Lockwell Hill Activity Centre

But, actually, you could not be more wrong, as careful and deliberate control is what is needed to keep yourself and your instructor at Lockwell Hill Activity Centre from careering into a tree or rolling into a ditch.

This was my fist time behind the wheel of a Landrover, which felt more like driving a tank than a car - especially when myself and instructor, Mitch Ellison, seemed to climbing up near-vertical hills.

But, the boring instruction part before the fun was pretty much nonexistent, as we jumped straight into the Discovery for a demo drive, during which Mitch explained a few basic dos and don’ts before I was allowed a go.

The basic and very important rules were, do not drive with your thumbs wrapped around the wheel, as these could be broken if it was jerked round with force by the many ruts and gullies on the track, and never put the clutch down.

As a first-timer you will be taken up and down some really fun, steep and narrow tracks, and do not worry if you think the car is going tip over on its side on a 35-degree slope. Somehow it does not.

And if you are thinking you need years’ worth of experience behind the wheel, or the skills of stunt driver, this is really not the case.

Co-owner at Lockwood Hill, Sarah Berry, said: “You do not need any experience at all as you can do it from 16 years upwards. It is very low gear, low speed and all about controlling the vehicle.

“We had a blind lady who came and drove for half an hour, but she was very good at taking instructions and a good student to have.

“We are thinking about offering a service for the blind as we already do blindfold driving here where people use whatever they want for left and right and we guide them around the course.”

As well as off-road driving, Lockwell Hill offers a number of other activities, including dirt buggy driving, quad biking archery and shooting, go-karting and paintball.

It is also one of only about 20 sites accredited by the British Off-road Driving Association.

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