Woodland Machines Pt 1 – The Quad Bike

Woodland Machines Pt 1 - The Quad Bike

The development of the quad bike or All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) has revolutionised farm and forest transport in the more remote areas of the UK. They are often seen in the distance travelling across fields and up hillsides complete with sheepdog on the back to tend distant flocks.  They must be good if the Royal Mail use them!

Their go-anywhere, do-anything capabilities are also very useful for owners of small woodlands.

What can they be used for and what advantages do quad bikes have in woodlands? 

1. Travel with your equipment from roadside to your woodland along earthen tracks. They are light compared to tractors and road vehicles, thereby saving the need for stoned tracks and reducing wear and tear on woodland tracks and rides.  

2. Within a woodland there are a multitude of uses including: use as forwarding, reasonable sized logs can be extracted with the right equipment; transporting materials and equipment for planting, fencing, thinning and brashing; removing firewood to the roadside; mowing tracks and even pulling a mobile saw to recently felled butts ready for milling.  (More blogs to come on timber ancillary equipment.) 

3. You can have comfortable car drive from home to the entrance to your wood then use your quad for access into the woodland. Most modern cars have low ground clearance and so are totally unsuited to anything but tarmac. 

4. Quad bikes are light, so soil compaction, a major problem with larger vehicles, is minimal. Woodland floor and tracks especially in ancient woodlands are ecologically fragile and the low ground pressure of quad bikes keeps damage to a minimum.    

Where can you get a quad bike? 

Good manufacturers include Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha and there are plenty good second hand ones available, most farm machinery stockists sell them. 

Security and safety with quad bikes

 They are “collectable” so need to be stored onsite in a secure metal container with shrouded locks.   Do count this in to the cost of purchase. 

Of course racing quad bikes is anathema to any woodland owner and is specifically excluded by the covenant on woodlands sold by Woodlands.co.uk.  

In the wrong hands quad bikes can be dangerous and good training is advisable. There are Lantra certified courses available, see:


Plumpton College


What sort of quad would I need to pull a trailer load of firewood up a steep muddy woodland track?


22 May, 2014

* Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs. WSPA, News 7 on Your Side reports that the number of child injuries and deaths due to ATV accidents has been on the rise and the state of South Carolina is proposing a law that would add more safety restrictions for when children are riding and operating ATVs.

It is very easy to neglect these routine maintenance tasks until the vehicle requires a major repair.

I started out just trying to find cheap quad bikes and courses but after a while you realise just how important the safety aspect is as you point out here.


25 January, 2012

There’s a healthy used quad bike market, which gives you another option from importing a Japanese machine


5 August, 2011

My quad is a Kymco MXU300, which is a road legal machine from a reputable Taiwanese manufacturer. Japanese equivalents are far more expensive and usually have to be adapted for road use by the supplier.I’ve done over 6000 miles on this quad so far, many of which have obviously been off road and many more towing an Erde trailer full of all the tackle for a days work or a camping trip in the wood.It’s never let me down and continues to be an absolute Godsend for me as a small woodland owner. I can honestly say I would not have had anything like the amount of visits to my wood that I have so far enjoyed, without this machine. I’m amazed so few small woodland owners have yet to discover the sheer convenience of using a quad bike in conjunction with the maintenance and recreational use of their woods.

Kevin Haigh

11 March, 2011

I agree with Polaris – in addition, quad bikes can cost less than a third the cost of a car to run!


3 March, 2011

Quad Bikes are fast becoming something of a transport revolution. They’re essential for the forestry commission and those who work in woodland. Farmers don’t know how they managed without them in the days before quads (BQ!) and as far their impact on the leisure industry is concerned, they’ve made many wildernesses around the world more accessible to the tourism trade, opening up deserts, forests, mountains, plains, plateaus and… well everywhere you can get on a quad. Then there’s quad bike as a sports machine… need i say more? I can’t think of any other single form of transport which has done so much for so many. Go Quads!!!


25 February, 2011

Quad bikes aren’t just practical, they’re also great fun as well.


10 August, 2010


We work very closely with some of the UK’s top ATV and Quad Bike Dealers for one reason or another – and to be honest the Chinese bike situation has proven in many cases to be cheaper to buy, but higher to maintain.

Not just because the parts are any dearer, more to do with the fact that dealers rise and fall very fast as far as importers are concerned, which means that once you buy one, you can not be sure the next day if they will be around.

I know this also applies to main stream dealers, but at least the availability of parts for the top 5 manufacturers are readily available where ever you go.

Should anyone need any advice on machines on the other hand, please come and ask the question as I have been in the industry for some time, and whilst I don;t sell Quad Bikes myself (the site is for others to advertise on) I can offer any help and advice for people looking at particular machines.



My Quad Bike

2 December, 2009

A quick search confirms the £5,000 for good quality new quad bikes, (the £8,000 refers to a different type of machine which has tracks). Darren’s website shows that secondhand versions cost about half this and for most part time woodland owners would be perfectly adequate.

It would be good to hear from owners of the cheaper Chinese machines.


26 November, 2009

I know that this post started some time ago, but I could not help noticing that one of the comments mentioned the cost of Quad Bikes, ATVs etc being way too expensive – £5000 – £8000. And to be honest, since the old Chinese folk have got involved, there has been a huge inrease in different manufacturers which had meant a lot of the main stream bringing their prices more in line.

We now see more an more bike being advertised for anything between £1000 – £1500 – and with trailers being available for under £200 – there sure seems a big jump from £1200 – £1500, with earlier speculation of upto £8000, don’t you think?

Glad I found this, nice to hear peoples thoughts, who are not related to the industry, unlike myself. (Darren from myquadbike.co.uk)


24 November, 2009

These bikes are so useful for the farmers, or even for the people who work in forests, really good in riding.


26 May, 2009

I bought an old pig scraper off a farmer for £20 modified an old trailer to fit and find it incredibly useful around our wood. The Scraper has a 5.5hp Honda engine and was when built meant to be the biggest rotavator honda make. It has A high and low ratio gearbox and can pull heavy loads whilst only causing ground damage when the ground is sodden. I have also made out of scrap a logging arch which will take nine foot butts upto eighteen inches in diameter while I walk alongside. I would have loved a quad but couldn’t justify the cost. My little “tractor” was very cheap and does everything I ask of it but Getting used to not having brakes was a little difficult at first. It isn’t fast enough to need an emergency stop and the low ratio box controls hill descents easily. I may look to put brakes on to the trailer in future as it has a landrover axle but for the time being it is a reliable workhorse. My wife didn’t want a tractor in our wood initially but has come round to it now we don’t have to lug all the firewood round in a wheel barrow. You can see some videos and pics on my blog here http://boaowl332.blogspot.com/


10 March, 2009

Kevin – thank you for the feedback on your quad – very encouraging

Looking at the “Longwood” blog – I am envious of Rodney’s tractor, any way…

I have continued my search for sutiable kit…
and spotted Powered wheeelbarrows as another option( okay you can’t ride on it ) but…

good for tight spaces ( small width),
can have four wheels – unable to find tracked
can do 300kg -500kg loads ( a plus and minus point)

on the downside – capacity – seem to go upto about 10 cu ft – though some have platforms adding flexibility as opposed to a ‘barrow’.

From my point of view – my woodland has plenty of potential firewood – the barrows are ideal for logging up of trees as soon as felled ( as opposed to hauling timber lengths)

cost brand new – £1500 give or take 200 EX vAT

as these barrows can be hired ( plant hire ) – I am tempted to wait until summer ( may be dryer in the wood) and hire one for a weekend – see how appropriate they are

as per other posts – feed back welcome – positive or negative or alternatives.

I see the fire wood blog was popoular on response – hence wonder how other folk are getting timber out of their woods ?


5 March, 2009

Hi folks

I’ve been using a quad bike in my wood for almost a year now. It’s the second best thing I’ve ever bought, the wood itself being the first! It’s proved to be an absolute invaluable tool and a great workhorse. Mine is a road legal machine and is therefore utilised for actually transporting me to the wood as well as carrying out maintenance within. This was a big deciding factor for me as it free’s up the car and gives me more independance where other family members are concerned. It does have a very light ‘footprint’ so damage to tracks is minimal, however frquent use dragging a heavy load along the same stretch of track in the wet will degrade the surface somewhat but it’s fair to say at a lesser degree than heavier machinery. I lay brash over any tracks that I forcast traversing frequently. My machine cost me £3400 brand new with 2 year warranty. It’s strong and well made, powerful(270cc) with a low maintenance shaft drive.

Kevin Haigh

5 January, 2009

Hi Mart

We have also looked longingly at the iron horse! Extracting from woodlands is such a difficult thing, a quad bike would be great, but the track damage? I think that there is no easy answer.
Certainly interesting to look into co operatives to share machinery and there are all kinds of SEEDA grants that help with this.

Tracy Pepler

17 December, 2008

Thank you for the quad bike article –
– I looked at the Iron horse a few months back ( http://www.artcom-tradebridge.com/ironhorse.html) as an alternative to a quad bike

not sure if it a fair comparison – a new quad bike with trailer comes in at around 5000 – give or take- ( much less for 2nd hand)
the iron horse with a few attachments seemed overly priced at over £8000

the iron horse may be too specific for a ‘part time woodland owner’ or put another way, a quad bike seems have greater utility value

where they are similar is the track width required and low ground pressure

any figures on load sizes/weights would be interest for the quad bike -?

any Iron horse owners will to put in their opinions ?

I am of the opinion – few woodland owners would want to buy either a quad or an iron horse -( great tools, though they are) – may be there is scope in regional/local machinery rings ( woodland owners groups, co-operatives etc ) being set up


18 November, 2008

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