Wanderer October 2015
YHA The Wanderer
YHA The Wanderer
 
 
The Wanderer, Issue 34, October 2015
 
 
TheEnvironment Edition
 
Hello again! With properties that are either eco-friendly by design, easy to get to using public transport, close to nationally-important natural habitats… or all three at the same time, this month we bring you the four places that best represent our ongoing commitment to the environment. From biomass to biomes and bird hides to butterflies, in this edition you’ll find all the information you need to plan a guilt-free green getaway to a wilderness full of wonder.
 
We really hope you enjoyed last month’s reader takeover. If you missed it, you can find it alongside all previous editions in The Wanderer archive.
 
Map  
 
 
YHA Eskdale
 
 
YHA Eskdale
 
  Love the Lake District? It's Hard Knott to!  
 
 
Peace, quiet and some of the most ruggedly beautiful views anywhere in the UK: your reward for choosing this carbon-conscious mountain hideaway for your next Lake District adventure. Environmentally-friendly measures include solar panels and a biomass boiler but YHA Eskdale’s most unique eco feature is its wonderful garden.
 
 
 
YHA Eskdale
 
YHA Eskdale
 
Discover creatures great and small in the hostel’s 15-acre grounds. Wander around the nature trail and you might catch sight of a reclusive adder or perhaps even a rare peregrine falcon. Our bird hide makes a great little escape for solitude seekers and birdwatchers alike.
 
Once you’ve arrived here, there’s really no need to start the car again until departure day. Most guests visit for England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, yet there are plenty more fantastic fells to climb and this place is perfect for peak baggers. Try Hard Knott Fell, Green Crag or Harter Fell. The latter is a must for a spare afternoon, offering incredible views of its majestic neighbours. Wainwright described the ascent from Eskdale as a “delight from start to finish.”
 
If you’d like to see the sights from a different perspective, jump aboard the beloved L’aal Ratty. The Ravenglass & Eskdale steam railway connects nearby Boot to the coastal village of Ravenglass and it’s a truly lovely journey. Once at Ravenglass, continue on to Drigg Dunes, an important nature reserve and home to Europe’s largest colony of Black Headed Gulls. Alternatively, Muncaster Castle is a mile inland and its splendid gardens offer a sublime view over the Esk Valley.
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Mick:
 
 
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Take a walk through 4,000 years of history taking in the Medieval Corn Mill at Boot, Hardknott Roman Fort which is perched high above the valley floor looking across to the towering crags of Scafell, and then further back in time to the five Bronze Age Stone Circles of Burnmoor.
 
 
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Explore the River Esk as it tumbles through upper Eskdale, one of the wildest areas of the Lake District, down cascades and deep crystal clear pools before calmly flowing into the sea at the sleepy village of Ravenglass. There are beautiful pools for swimming all the way along.
 
 
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Eskdale is a valley full of woods, hills, farms and a surprising number of pubs. Whilst exploring the local natural beauty, call in at one of the four pubs within walking distance to try a real ale. The Boot beer festival runs over the weekend of 9th to 12th June.
 
 
 
 
 
YHA Blaxhall
 
 
YHA Blaxhall
 
  Britain's best for birds and butterflies  
 
 
The site of a community recycling scheme, powered in part by solar energy and boasting a garden that encourages biodiversity, Blaxhall has some cracking credentials. But it’s really the location that propels this former school to the top of the class. The hostel sits on the edge of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of the most important areas for wildlife in the whole of Britain.
 
 
 
YHA Blaxhall
 
YHA Blaxhall
 
The area’s wildlife wetlands are of international significance while sandy stretches of ancient heathland like the Suffolk Sandlings offer a haven for birds and butterflies. There are three National Nature Reserves here. The renowned RSPB Minsmere is open year round; visit this month to watch majestic red deer rut on the heath.
 
Get acquainted with the flora and fauna of the Sandlings with a walk or pedal around Rendlesham Forest. It’s fantastic for families with an adventure playground, easy-going trails and a bike park. Fascinatingly, in late December 1980 there were a number of reported UFO sightings here. Since then Rendlesham has been known as “Britain’s Roswell”. Take the dedicated trail to discover more.
 
Suffolk’s flat countryside makes it ideal for exploration by bicycle. One of our favourite rides is out to Orford to enjoy its oysters and relaxed pace of life. Visit in high season and Orford Ness is a must. Formerly a nuclear detonator test site, it is wild, desolate and utterly beguiling in its beauty. If you can’t wait until summer, climb the keep at Orford Castle one weekend to get a great view out over Europe’s largest shingle spit.
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Amy:
 
 
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If birdwatching isn’t your thing, try celebrity spotting instead. The Aldeburgh & Southwold celebrity trails lead you round the attractive seaside towns, pointing out which famous faces have graced our streets. Make time for the quirky pier at Southwold and the fabulous fish and chips at Aldeburgh.
 
 
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Snape Maltings is just two miles away. Snape has something for everyone, from art galleries and sculpture gardens to river boat trips and beautiful walks along the edge of the River Alde. Snape Maltings Concert Hall is home to the Aldeburgh Festival of music, founded by composer Benjamin Britten and tenor Peter Pears.
 
 
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Open from March, Languard Fort in Felixstowe offers a visitor attraction that’s out of the ordinary. It’s the site of the last opposed seaborne invasion of England (which was in 1667, if historical facts float your boat). It also houses the Felixstowe Museum.
 
 
 
 
 
Third time lucky?
 
  Third time lucky?  
 
 
Thanks entirely to your votes, we won £25,000 from Hostelling International’s Sustainability Fund in 2013 and 2014. This year we’re going for gold again to support the installation of renewable energy systems at The Sill Project. A change in the competition rules means it’ll be an uphill battle this year and so we need every member vote we can muster. To find out more and to cast that all-important vote for YHA Hadrian’s Wall at The Sill please click here. Thank you.
 
 
 
 
 
YHA Port Eynon
 
 
YHA Port Eynon
 
  Wind and wave poweron the Goa  
 
 
Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the gorgeous Gower Peninsula boasts 34 miles of breathtaking coastline and 50 unspoilt beaches. And of all the coves and bays hereabouts, Port Eynon is amongst the finest. Converted from South Gower’s former lifeboat station, the hostel enjoys unparalleled sea views from the large lounge windows and offers guests a face-to-face with the forces of nature.
 
 
 
YHA Port Eynon
 
YHA Port Eynon
 
Again, there’s no need to take the car anywhere if you don’t want to. Take it easy on the award-winning beach, enjoy a swim, or harness some wind power and try sailing, windsurfing or kite boarding. This stretch of coast is a stunning and varied landscape of cliff scenery, woodland and dunes that’s rich in wildlife and history. Rhossili beach is a rewarding seven-mile ramble away, along the Wales Coast Path.
 
If you’re on a mission to cut carbon emissions and would like to explore further afield then visit three beautiful beaches by bus. Walk to Three Cliffs Bay, catch the 118 to Rhossili and then return to Port Eynon in the evening.
 
Port Eynon itself is an idyllic village with a fun family feel. It is the most tourist-orientated of Gower’s beaches with a few seaside shops selling bits and bobs, beach wear, buckets and spades, ice creams and the like. The hostel is self-catering but you’ll find fish and chips, pizza and pub grub available nearby. With full stomachs and full hearts, return to the hostel to cosy up around the wood burner – which is run on locally-harvested logs and driftwood – and settle in for the evening.
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Diane:
 
 
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Next month it’s the Gower Coastal Marathon. There are limited places left and if you’ve already got one, you’re in for a fine time. The run route takes in sand dunes, beaches, woods, hills, sections of single track and boggy bits. Too little notice? There’s always next year.
 
 
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Swansea Community Farm is the only city farm in Wales. Not only is it a place for people to escape the hurly-burly of city life, it has a clear aim to educate all ages on the environment, organic gardening and animal care. Drop in to take a look!
 
 
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Hundreds of free or low-cost environmentally-focussed events take place in and around Swansea each year. From guided walks to cycle rides, and wildlife talks to eco workshops, there’s plenty to see and do. Take a look at what’s on.
 
 
 
 
 
YHA Eden Project
 
 
YHA Eden Project
 
  Out of this world  
 
 
So finally to the site that most strongly embodies the theme; it doesn’t get much greener than the Eden Project. And in keeping with Eden’s ethos of recycling and reusing, our Snoozebox accommodation is made from converted shipping containers and provides a fitting, comfortable and novel way to stay on-site overnight.
 
 
 
YHA Eden Project
 
YHA Eden Project
 
Fresh from a good night’s rest, you’ll enjoy this iconic attraction all the more. Experience the tropical heat of the rainforest, marvel at the view from the treetop canopy walkway, wander through olive and citrus groves, take a thrill ride on the Skywire… or simply stop and smell the flowers!
 
If you manage to exhaust all there is to see and do at Eden, venture out to discover the delightful Cornish Riviera. A nearby stretch of South West Coast Path, between Polruan and Polperry, beautifully shows off the white sand beaches and turquoise seas of this section of coastline. High and undulating, it’s a breathtaking route over National Trust land littered with wildflowers.
 
A number of waymarked cycling trails, including NCN routes 2 and 3, criss-cross the Eden Project site. For a most remarkable ride, cycle the five-mile blue Clay Trail route to Wheal Martyn and encounter an almost otherworldly landscape known as the “Cornish Alps”. Centuries of quarrying have created a moonlike terrain, so much so that the area doubled as the planet “Uxarieus” in a 1971 episode of Doctor Who. Serene and surreal, the flooded Old Baal clay pit is a still lake of brilliant cerulean and the trail’s scenic centrepiece.
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Pete:
 
 
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Enjoy an hour’s ride along NCN route 3 to reach the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Your eco-friendly mode of transport means you’ll receive a discount on entry to this amazing and once secret botanical garden.
 
 
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“The Core” building is an awesome interactive space and central to the Eden Project’s efforts to educate us all on all things environmental, from evolution to ecosystems. Exhibits are fascinating and fun!
 
 
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Knightor Winery is only a mile away and produces wine from vineyards on the South Cornish Coast. Visit for tours and tastings, enjoy fine wine and fine fare in their café or relax with a coffee in the sun-trap courtyard. And if the romance of your surroundings moves you, book it as a wedding venue!
 
 
 
 
 
 
  YHA and the enviroment  
 
 
Photovoltaic panels, biomass boilers and LED light bulbs are just a few of the things that have helped to put YHA (England & Wales) at the forefront of eco-tourism. Read our Green Spirit Plan to find out how we’ll continue to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint over the next three years. From the diverse demands of our historic properties to cutting edge ecotechnologies, it’s an interesting insight into all the work that goes on behind the scenes at YHA.
 
YHA and the enviroment
 
 
 
 
 
 
Next month:
 
   
 
  Winter Wonderland Edition  
 
 
Yes, it’s almost that time again. There’s a nip in the air and the nights are drawing in, which can mean only one thing. Hooray, Christmas is on its way! And there’ll be no Bah Humbugs here as next month we’ll remind you of all there is to love about this time of year. November’s edition will bring you the finest festivities that are simply chocka with cheer. Be sure to join us and we’ll help you make the most of this most magical time of year. See you there!
 
 
 
Next month
 
 
 
 
Find out how were changing the lives one stay at a time
 
Because YHA is a charity, when you stay with us you’re helping keep prices affordable, hostels beautiful and you’re even enriching the lives of young people. Find out more.
 
Find out how were changing the lives one stay at a time
 
 
 
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