Whitecliff Off-Road Driving Center
Since buying a 4x4 Dacia Duster I fancied some off road driver training. So for my birthday Last February Linda wanted to send me on a Whitecliff 4x4 training day in the Forest of Dean for a present. The training takes place at the old Whitecliff quarry just the other side of Coleford in the Forest of Dean. It took a while for me to find the time to book a course but last October I spent a Saturday there for a full day (you can book a half or full days training). There were only two of us on the course and the other person was only there for a half day course. We started with a talk on how power is distributed to the four wheels on a Landrover Discovery and the effect the differential lock has on steering and off road performance. The talk gave us an understanding of just what a 4x4 can and can't do and the practical exercises that followed showed us in practice what we covered in theory. For the practical training we moved deeper into the old Quarry. Stone extraction stopped here around the Mid 80's and the old quarry facilities are now let out to individual companies such as Whitecliff 4x4. The legacy left after the stone was extracted is some amazing cliffs towering above the training area. The cliffs were man made from where the quarry dug away the side of a hill, the cliffs seem to now be inhabited by squawking seagulls and the odd Peregrine Falcon! The training is spread over several short runs of around 4-500 meters offering different terrain to challenge you. Before attempting to drive each run we walked each short course giving us the chance to plan our route. We covered hill descents, steep ascents and how to recover if the vehicle stalls on a steep hill, How to navigate increasingly difficult uneven surfaces some with sharp rocks others with loose stone surfaces some liable to trap you with two wheels spinning in mid air and others with some slippery surfaces thanks to some rain. The most unnerving thing for me was driving laterally across a hill meaning the vehicle was at a 30 degree angle and I was half sitting on the seat and half on the drivers door this felt very un-natural! It was a great day and I slept like a Log that night. https://youtu.be/qvmXEd_3qtA
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