Inspired by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ recently launched #VWTrailblazers challenge, I’ve been spending a little bit of time researching off-road courses around my area. The challenge pits two teams against each other in the ultimate off-road pursuit, navigating rocky terrain, deep mud pits and the intimidating fell mountains of the Lake District in the VW Amarok (you can watch the video below to see how the two teams got on).

Perhaps it was natural then that one question stood out to me above the rest: what exactly does make the perfect off-road destination? There’s the chance to get muddy, sure, and of course the potential to put the pedal to the metal and quickly bound through unpredictable landscapes. But what else goes in to designing a course that promises to really get pulses racing?

It’s all about variety

Perhaps one of the most important factors is the variety of terrains that a course has to offer. Those participating in off-road pursuits are usually driven by the desire to push their vehicle to the limit, so it goes without saying that the more varied the landscape the better. Think shingled beach nestled alongside crowded forests, the likes of which promise to test your capabilities in more ways than one.
A range of different heights is another plus point, as climbing hills has to be one of the biggest thrills of off-roading. In fact, it’s perhaps only second to scaling back down them, which is the ultimate test of a vehicles grip and precision. Steep peaks and mountains are a perk along any off-road course, as well as mud pits and sand dunes that aim to deliver one heck of a bumpy ride.
Ultimately, you want any off-road pursuit to test four key vehicle components – power, precision, navigation and technical ability. Choose a course that caters to them all, and you’re in for an adventure that gets the absolute most from your off-road machine. Hard and soft, fast and slow; the perfect off-road course is one that hands the driver full control, while still promising a challenging ride from start to finish. The Amarok is able to tackle all of that and more with relative ease, while still managing to look awesome at the same time.

What are your recommended off-roading locations in the UK?