Land Rover is celebrating 50 years of using the Eastnor Castle estate in Herefordshire as its centre for off road testing and development. Tucked away in rural Herefordshire, this historic piece of English countryside is still an important tool in the research and development of new Land Rovers as well as offering a completely unique Land Rover driving experience to members of the public.
In 1961, Land Rover first chose the 5000 acre Eastnor Castle estate located near Ledbury, Herefordshire to assess the off-road credentials of their vehicles. Half a century on, the tradition continues, with Eastnor playing a pivotal role in the research and development of Land Rover’s outstanding all-round capability and class-leading off road performance.
As well as the cars themselves, Eastnor has been instrumental in developing an impressive collection of Land Rover technologies; such as Anti-lock Brakes, Adjustable Air Suspension, Electronic Traction Control, Hill Descent Control and Terrain Response® – many of which were world firsts in the 4×4 sector.
The tradition of testing all Land Rover models at Eastnor continues to this day. The Range Rover Evoque was the most recent model to complete its off-road apprenticeship and a large part of the Evoque’s technology, including MagneRide™, was proven on the estate, where ride dampers were tested extensively.
Terrain Response® offers drivers optimal vehicle set-up (electronic and mechanical), and performance, under a variety of off-road conditions.
Whether driving in mud, ruts, rocks, sand, grass, gravel or snow, Terrain Response® has the appropriate setting, and will optimise ride height, engine torque Response®, Hill Decent Control, Electronic Traction Control and transmission settings, ensuring a safe and controlled passage across any terrain. The Eastnor estate provides the ultimate test for all these conditions and is instrumental in the continuing development of this technology.
Eastnor has been used as not only an ideal off-road engineering ground, but since 1989, as an off-road learning centre for the emergency services, explorers, humanitarian societies such as the British Red Cross and, more recently, the general public.
Customers and fans of the brand can now book drive experience days to hone their on and off-road driving skills with tuition from a team of highly qualified Land Rover Experience instructors. Eastnor is one of over 30 centres around the world, and hosts over five and a half thousand visitors every year participating in half or full days, beginner and intermediate training as well as exciting night drives. Over a third of these visitors have travelled from overseas, keen to experience Land Rover in its heartland.