Wanderer July 2014
YHA The Wanderer
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The Wanderer, Issue 16, May 2014
 
 
Coastal edition
 
As you know, we’re unlike any other accommodation provider; no two of our properties are the same and we think that’s marvellous and something to be celebrated. This month we’re taking you on a tour of some of our most magnificent hostels. All cared for by the National Trust, these buildings are located in some of the most topographically spectacular places England and Wales have to offer. Get ready to escape the bustle of everyday life and surround yourself with natural beauty as you explore magnificent countryside and wander the landscapes of our heritage.
 
Want to read previous editions of The Wanderer? You can do so here.
Walking Edition Map  
 
 
YHA Ilam Hall
 
 
YHA Boggle Holw
 
  A seaside treasure trove  
 
 
The huge Grade II-listed Victorian Gothic mansion of Ilam Hall sits in 84 acres of glorious parkland. There’s almost endless green space to run around in, ancient woodland to explore and plenty of birdlife to spot along the banks of the River Manifold.
 
 
 
YHA Ilam Hall
 
YHA Ilam Hall
 
What to do first? We recommend you take the gentle 2.5 mile stroll to reach the famous Dovedale stepping stones. Leave the park, walk through the pretty village of Ilam - with its Swiss-style houses and ornate Ilam Cross - and journey on through the awe-inspiring countryside of the White Peak to Dovedale Valley. Along the way discover a wealth of caves and the fossilized remains of sea creatures that inhabited the shallow sea that covered the area 350 million years ago.
 
“Along the way discover a wealth of caves and the fossilized remains of sea creatures that inhabited the shallow sea that covered the area 350 million years ago.”
 
The River Dove marks the boundary between Staffordshire and Derbyshire. Cross it and you’ll find incredible limestone formations on the route to Milldale, including Reynard’s Cave and the rocky spires that make up the ‘Twelve Apostles’ – best viewed from the grassy spur known as ‘Lover’s Leap’.
 
Once you’ve exhausted the walks in the area – which is no mean feat – perhaps take the thirty minute drive to Carsington Water and try a kayaking, windsurfing, sailing or stand up paddle boarding taster session. Prefer to keep your feet dry? Then hire a bike and cycle the 3-mile family friendly circuit or the full off-road 8-mile reservoir circuit. And if you want to go further afield, the Carsington Water trails link to the Tissington and High Peak trails which follow the route of the old railway lines. The hostel is also close to Alton Towers theme park – no wonder this place is such a hit with families.
 
Back at Ilam Park you’ll find National Trust events and activities taking place year round. Find out more here.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Emma:
 
  1  
Let the kids loose on the Hinkley Hollow natural play area in Ilam Park grounds. This is a great adventure for those taking part in the National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.
 
 
  2  
Walk along the side of Bunster Hill, taking in the stunning view across the bottom of Dovedale Valley, and hunt for hidden fossils in the limestone hillside.
 
 
  3  
Have a scenic day’s walk through the stunning Biggin and Wolfscote Dale valleys. Park at the beautiful village of Alstonefield and take the circular route through the valleys, exploring Biggin Nature Reserve and Hartington Village.
 
 
 
 
YHA Wilderhope
 
 
YHA Wilderhope Manor
 
  A timeless quality  
 
 
This Grade I-listed Elizabethan manor house in the Shropshire countryside is a real stunner. Whether you want a base from which to explore the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or you’re looking for a private venue for a special event like a wedding, this recently refurbished property with its half-timbered parlour and Great Hall offers a unique place to stay.
 
 
 
YHA Wilderhope Manor
 
YHA Wilderhope Manor
 
Walk out of the front door and you’re already on a cracking walking route; YHA Wilderhope is located about half way along the long distance walk that follows Wenlock Edge, a limestone escarpment formed over 400 million years ago when Shropshire was to be found just south of the equator. Simply take a walk along the deciduous tree-lined ridge and you’ll be treated to incredible views of the Shropshire countryside.
 
“Take the National Trust Adventure Trail and go paddling in the stream, build a den or go bird watching in the hide.”
 
Cared for by the National Trust, Carding Mill Valley is a twenty-minute drive to the west and boasts plenty of paths for walking and cycling as well as visitor facilities such as a tea room and shop. Important geologically and archaeologically, the 2,000 hectare heather-covered estate is a beautiful place to roam around and discover the inhabitant wildlife. Take the National Trust Adventure Trail and go paddling in the stream, build a den or go bird watching in the hide.
 
If you love history, you’re spoilt for choice with nearby attractions. The Ironbridge Gorge is just a 25-minute drive away and its 10 museums tell the fascinating history of this place as the crucible of the Industrial Revolution. Alternatively, you might visit the Acton Scott estate and its historic farm to watch daily demonstrations of 19th century farming life. Last but not least - and definitely the most quirky - the Land of Lost Content is crammed to the rafters with artefacts reflecting the last 100 years of British life.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Abbie:
 
  1  
30 minutes by car at Bridgnorth, Daniel’s Mill is a fully working watermill which remains virtually unaltered since the 18th century. Visit the idyllic setting to see the traditional milling of wheat and take a guided tour of the mill.
 
 
  2  
Visit Bridgnorth’s Cliff Railway, reputedly England’s oldest and steepest inland funicular railway. For more than a century it has transported residents and visitors up and down the 111ft sandstone cliffs that separate the High Town from the Low Town.
 
 
  3  
If you have youngsters in tow, don’t miss Ray’s Farm with its petting zoo, birds of prey displays and Fairytale Forest.
 
 
 
Cotswold
 
 
The days are longer so you can go further
 
Whether you’re walking in the Lake District or camping with the kids, exploring faraway places or enjoying a heat wave at the beach, we provide technically advanced clothing and equipment to keep you safe and comfortable in all conditions. YHA members receive 15% off* clothing and equipment, shop online or at nationwide stores.
 
 
 
 
 
YHA Wasdale Hall
 
 
YHA YHA Wasdale Hall
 
  Watersports and beauty spots  
 
 
As rural retreats go, this early 19th-century half-timbered hostel has to rank amongst the best. In fact, this area boasts a number of list-topping features – Wastwater is England’s deepest lake; nearby Scafell Pike is England’s highest mountain; and the view from the hostel – of the lake with the mountains of Yewbarrow, Great Gable and Lingmell behind – was voted as Britain’s favourite in 2007.
 
 
 
YHA Wasdale Hall
 
YHA Wasdale Hall
 
Needless to say that if you’re serious about your fell walking this is the place to be. Not only can you take on Scafell Pike from here, there are also a number of very demanding but rewarding routes around Great Gable, at the head of Wastwater. Climbing enthusiasts will be aware of Napes Needle, a detached pinnacle to the south of Great Gable; the 1886 ascent by W.P. Haskett Smith is regarded as the origin of the sport of rock climbing in England.
 
“A 25-minute drive from the hostel brings you to Muncaster Castle and Gardens; go and discover the haunted castle’s colourful history and stroll around gorgeous grounds.”
 
If you have your own kit and caboodle, canoeing or kayaking on Wastwater is a must. It’s one of the few lakes in the country where sails and motors aren’t permitted, which makes for a very peaceful paddle.
 
There’s also plenty to do if your idea of a holiday doesn’t include any of the above. St Olaf’s Church, Wasdale is the smallest in England and is a fascinating little place - its roof beams are reputed to be recycled from the prows of Viking ships. A 25-minute drive from the hostel brings you to Muncaster Castle and Gardens; go and discover the haunted castle’s colourful history and stroll around gorgeous grounds. Finally, the Ravenglass & Eskdale steam railway offers an effortless way to take in the spectacular scenery of this beautiful part of the world. At the end of a wonderful day, retire to the hostel and enjoy a local ale and home-cooked meal in our wood-panelled restaurant.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Bob:
 
  1  
Walk the Seatallan round – climb Buckbarrow, onwards to Seatallan and then down and round to Middlefell for unsurpassed views of Wasdale.
 
 
  2  
Walk up the lesser known Blengdale Valley to Stockdale Moor and walk around the ruins of Sampsons Bratfull, a Neolithic cairn.
 
 
  3  
Every November, the Bridge Inn at Santon Bridge holds the ‘World’s Biggest Liar Competition’. Competitors have five minutes to tell the most audacious and convincing whopper they can.
 
 
 
 
YHA Lizard
 
 
YHA Lizard Point
 
  Dreamy days in DEvon  
 
 
Built in the 1860s, this striking Victorian villa was first home to the artist Thomas Hart who drew much of his inspiration from this spectacular coastline. Almost the most southerly building on the British mainland, with unparalleled views out to sea, this place makes the perfect base from which to explore the historic Lizard peninsula.
 
 
 
YHA Lizard Point
 
YHA Lizard Point
 
One of the most dramatic stretches of the South West Coast Path passes right by the door. If you’re interested in the area’s industrial past then travel east to the Poltesco Valley and walk amongst the ruins of medieval mills and 17th century pilchard cellars. The east coast is also a great place to escape the crowds and discover a hidden cove or two. If you’re a confident swimmer, head to Poltesco with a snorkel and goggles and share the water with dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks and seals – an extraordinary experience.
 
“At low tide go and explore the caves and rock stacks made of green and red serpentine that are particular to the area.”
 
To the west, about 2 miles from Lizard Point, is Kynance Cove. Its white sands and turquoise sea make this one of the most beloved and photographed locations in all of Cornwall. At low tide go and explore the caves and rock stacks made of green and red serpentine that are particular to the area.
 
Lizard is also famed as the birthplace of modern communication. Marconi conducted his pioneering radio experiments here. If you’re interested to find out more, visit the Lizard Wireless Station (just a short walk west along the Coast Path) or take the 15 minute drive from the hostel to the Marconi Centre at Poldhu. While you’re that way, the surf school at Poldhu is run by former pro Dan Joel; take the opportunity to experience the Cornish surf with this National Trust ambassador.
 
After all that excitement you’ll have built up a sizeable appetite. Cook up a storm in the self-catering kitchen or walk to the pub in Lizard village for a local ale and some home-cooked grub.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Phil:
 
  1  
Take the South West Coast to the traditional fishing village of Cadgwith and enjoy a sandwich of freshly caught crab in one of the local cafes.
 
 
  2  
Hire a sailing boat or a canoe and explore the many creeks and inlets of the beautiful Helford River.
 
 
  3  
Hire bikes from Porthleven and enjoy safe, family-friendly cycling around Loe Pool and the National Trust’s Penrose Estate.
 
 
 
 
Get the most out of summer Get the most out of summer
 
 
Next month:
   
 
  Costal Edition  
 
 
With so many extraordinary places to get round in the YHA (England & Wales) network it’s easy to forget that your YHA membership also affords you access to over 4000 international hostel. Next month we’ll be leaving these shores, crossing continents and cultures and discovering four city centre sites in iconic hostelling destinations. Pack your bags... it’s going to be an epic adventure!
 
 
 
Next month
 
  Find out how were changing the lives one stay at a time
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.
 
 
 
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