4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Bampton Drive Round Day – 8th January 17
Words by James Trembath and video by Will Overton

After a superb Christmas and New Year I think everyone was looking forward to getting back into the off roading with one of Bampton Drive Round Days. We had a capable group of four vehicles (down from six due to some recent changes to the sites and our event policies regarding tyre specifications). Tony Hedley with father Mike was out for his virgin Bampton trip in his well prepared 90 and was joined by some of the regulars including Russell Lemon who proves to us all ,time and time again, how versatile the series vehicles are.

After the obligatory Warm Up Woods, and despite the wet conditions under tyre, (thankfully no issues) we headed on down to first Long Drop. Tony and Mike were soon into it with a baptism of Fire. Yes it is tricky keeping those wheels aligned on a steep, wet slope as you glissade on small rocks with gravity doing its thing!

We used the byways to link our way across to Wet Corner, which looked really really wet. Sensibly,Paul with son Jack decided to give it a miss despite Jack’s enthusiasm to ‘give it go’ – while he watched from outside! We also advised Tony that today was perhaps not the day to see how well prepared the 90 was for deep water wading!

Making use of the natural cover we headed to Priestlands to shelter from the wind for a lunch stop. This also gave some the opportunity to explore the tracks (on foot) to see how much impact the loggers had made since our last foray. With it looking reasonable, we gave the option of the challenging route across to the bridge section, forewarning that there may well be the need for some winching. With everyone in agreement, off we went. A couple of cars made it through the top silt filled track with a few other the others requiring a little winch assistance. Tony as third vehicle through drove it well (after seeing the first car drive it and the second car (Jeroen) have to winch). Tony then promptly parked up with his front axle buried in a wet looking hole so needed that winch pull after all! Russell gave it a good fighting go but this time the leaf spring hangers just caught a little too much again, resorting to the winch to get to the end. The final climb back up the top prior to the bridge crossing, Russel made it with ease whilst several 90s resorted to the winch – Jeroen, Paul and Tony this time! Priestlands is a great place to explore with plenty of variation and opportunities (none of which are compulsory). There is generally something there for everyone.

With mid-afternoon looming we then headed to Tim’s Lost route. Wome drove the climb with ease, while others just couldn’t quite make the last 3m or so! This led us perfectly into the Middle Wood. Having already discussed the bypass options we headed around the various bomb holes. We made good progress through the woods with no grounding out this time, the wet ground helping massively as we could forge a way through the ruts. With the tyre height limitations these ruts will now remain workable for the majority without assistance, just what we want! Middle wood bomb holes conquered, we meandered our way around the headlands to the last section of the day. The old river bed is a superb drive to finish on even if getting to it did prove a little challenging for our two intrepid gate openers (Ted and Ger). Maybe it was the stock that was putting them off.

A video of the day