Wanderer February 2015
YHA The Wanderer
YHA The Wanderer
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The Wanderer, Issue 26, February 2015
 
 
Cycling Edition
 
This month we’re hopping on our bikes to explore the hills, valleys, country lanes and forest trails around four bike-friendly hostels. As you’d expect, we’ve done our best to cater for the full cycling spectrum; so whether you’re a mountain biker seeking thrilling terrain, a leisure cyclist preferring to take it easy on the flat or a cycling club looking for the ideal location to exclusively hire, you’ll find plenty of inspiration for your next pedal-powered adventure.
 
Looking for information on a different destination? You’ll find all previous editions of The Wanderer here.
 
Map  
 
 
YHA Hathersage
 
 
YHA Hathersage
 
  Variety at its peak  
 
 
If you’re looking for a healthy mix of road and off road cycling then Hathersage has it all. The sheer variety of routes and trails available in this part of the Peak District means that whatever your age, energy level or ability, you’ll find a rewarding ride.
 
 
 
YHA Hathersage
 
YHA Hathersage
 
If you’re bringing the kids, a number of family-friendly and predominantly traffic-free trails offer the opportunity to imbue them with the biking bug in relative safety. The 14-mile Upper Derwent Valley Reservoir Circuit loops around three reservoirs, combining short sections of minor roads and extensive sections of traffic-free gravel track along the water’s edge.
 
Alternatively, and for something a little out of the ordinary, take to the 8.5-mile Monsal Trail. Formerly a section of the London to Manchester railway line, it’s a flat leisure route with spectacular views and, best of all, a series of 400-metre railway tunnels.
 
Confident off-road riders are spoilt for choice here. The 17-mile Hope and Edale Valley Circuit starts just up the road in Castleton. Killer climbs and hair-raising downhills combine to create a thrilling ride through Hope and Edale before you make a final, technically tricky descent below Peveril Castle and back into Castleton. For a suspension-rattling white-knuckle ride, divert at Barber Booth and extend the circuit to include the steep and rocky Jacob ’s Ladder descent.
 
After an exhausting but exhilarating day, head back to the hostel to store your bike and enjoy a square meal and a comfortable night’s sleep. You’ll need it, for tomorrow we ride.
 
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Rich:
 
  1  
Take a break from the bike and explore underground. Speedwell Cavern at the foot of the Winnats Pass above Castleton offers a boat ride like no other. You’ll board a craft, journey along the subterranean canal and into a 200 year old lead mine. Spectacular.
 
 
  2  
From 28 March onwards, visit the majestic stately home and roam around the 1000 acre grounds of Chatsworth House.
 
 
  3  
Come summer, enjoy a dip in Hathersage’s heated outdoor pool. In high season the place gets popular and some sessions are only open to season ticket holders so it’s worth checking ahead for timetable information.
 
 
 
 
YHA South Downs
 
 
YHA South Downs
 
  Lewes yourself in sensational scenery  
 
 
Uniquely for a UK National Trail, the entire 100 mile length of the South Downs Way is open to cyclists and, what’s more, it’s accessible from the hostel front door! Running from Winchester, the ancient capital of England, to the white cliffs of Eastbourne it has a total ascent of 3,800 metres; plenty of slopes and undulations mean it isn’t the easiest trail to tackle, but the scenery is simply sublime.
 
 
 
YHA South Downs
 
YHA South Downs
 
If you’re fit enough and game enough, it’s possible to complete the whole bridleway in a day but most take 2-4 days to ride it. And with 4 other hostels along the route – Littlehampton, Brighton, Telescombe and Eastbourne – YHA can accommodate you all the way. For those preferring a more relaxed, shorter excursion, simply cycle a section in either direction and take the train back to Southease station - just 200m away from the hostel.
 
More leisurely still is the going in Seven Sisters Country Park, 10 miles to the east. Though there are no bridleways as such, cycling is permitted on the valley floor and a paved track provides easy access to the beach.
 
Finally, Friston Forest was formerly a cross-country racing venue and provides mountain bikers of all abilities a place to clock up some muddy miles. You won’t find huge technical challenge on the official 7-mile Red Trail but what it lacks in difficulty, it makes up for in fun. So, hop aboard and have a blast down this fast, flowing woodland route.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Natalie:
 
  1  
Visit the imposing, 1000- year-old Lewes Castle to enjoy panoramic views across the surrounding Sussex downland. The adjacent Barbican House is home to the Museum of Sussex Archaeology which tells the story of Lewes from prehistoric to medieval times.
 
 
  2  
A short cycle from the hostel is Monk’s House. The 17th-century cottage was inhabited by Leonard and Virginia Woolf between 1919 and 1969. Full of personal possessions, furniture and memorabilia, the house appears as if they’ve only just stepped out.
 
 
  3  
Wonder at the wildlife - whether it be the wading birds on the beach, the flowers and butterflies of the hillside or the fascinating underwater world of the rock pools.
 
 
 
 
YHA Swanage
 
 
YHA Swanage
 
  Cycle the coast from castle to cove  
 
 
Here the pace is leisurely and the going is easy. This is one for the road bikers. Take to quiet country lanes to tour Dorset’s picturesque thatched villages and marvel at stunning coastal views. The gateway to the Jurassic Coast offers a grand day out in the saddle.
 
 
 
YHA Swanage
 
YHA Swanage
 
If you think Geology rocks, this stretch of coastline is a must visit. A 9-mile circular route brings you to 3 awe-inspiring chalk sea stacks known as Old Harry Rocks. Along the route you’ll encounter incredible views of the Isle of Purbeck and out across Poole Harbour, the world’s second largest natural harbour.
 
For a full day’s ride, head west and follow the 35-mile route to the limestone arch of Durdle Door and then on to Lulworth Cove – the area’s most visited and impressive geographical feature. Look out for the romantic ruins of Corfe Castle as you progress.
 
If you want to turn the adrenaline dial up a notch, switch to a mountain bike and take the 14-mile route along the Purbeck Hills to Corfe Castle, over the valley’s open fields, across a twisty technical section down to Chapman’s Pool, and back to Swanage via the Priest’s Way. You’ll be ready for some refreshment after that so end the ride with a home-pressed traditional cider at The Square and Compass pub.
 
Back at the hostel you’ll find plenty of secure bike storage, a laundry and drying room to take care of your kit and good quality fare in the restaurant when it’s time to refuel.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Garry:
 
  1  
Swanage is known as Little London by the sea due to all the curious architectural landmarks around the town, such as Wellington Tower which once stood at the entrance of London Bridge.
 
 
  2  
Swanage is the only Blue Flag beach along the entire Dorset Jurassic Coast. Spend a restful holiday building sandcastles, paddling in the sea and sampling local Purbeck ice cream. Alternatively, adrenalin junkies might give coasteering a go on this rugged coastline.
 
 
  3  
Many festivals take place throughout the year. The Jazz Festival (July), Folk Festival (September) and Blues Festivals (March and October) are extremely popular and not to be missed.
 
 
 
 
YHA Helmsley
 
 
YHA Helmsley
 
  Thrills in the hills  
 
 
Twisting woodland tracks, bridleways, steep sided valleys, quiet country lanes, heather-covered moorlands… the list goes on; it’s little wonder that this gorgeous corner of ‘God’s Own County’ is renowned as one of England’s best locations for mountain biking.
 
 
 
YHA Helmsley
 
YHA Helmsley
 
Situated between the North York Moors and the Howardian Hills, this is prime cycling country and whether you’re a beginner or a world-class athlete you’ll find a rewarding route to suit. Talking of the latter– the Tour de Yorkshire will see top international teams compete for glory on the early May Bank Holiday weekend. Helmsley is located between the first two stages, making it an ideal stopover for spectators.
 
Stage 1 passes through Dalby Forest, 18 miles to the east of the hostel. The World Mountain Bike Championship venue and cycle centre offers 50 miles of graded, well-maintained trails ranging from family-friendly to fantastically tricky routes.
 
Closer to home, the newly opened Sutton Bank Centre has three interlocking trails that boast incredible views over the Vales of Mowbray and York. The gentle, 3-mile circular Cliff Trail is family friendly; the 9-mile blue Fort Trail offers a chance to put your off-road skills to good use; and the 17.5-mile Paradise Trail offers experts the ultimate technical challenge.
 
Whatever trail you tackle and however muddy you get, this hostel is well equipped to help restore your ride; facilities include a secure bike shed, pressure washer, a bike stand for repairs and a toolkit. Then it’s time to relax in front of the wood burning stove with a hearty meal and a pint of Yorkshire ale.
 
 
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Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Neil:
 
  1  
Who needs the seaside when you can enjoy a dip in Helmsley’s heated open-air swimming pool, open during the summer months. Afterwards reward yourself with an ice cream or fish and chips in one of the award-winning cafes that surround the picturesque market square.
 
 
  2  
The Ryedale Folk Museum boasts a remarkable collection of 20 rescued and restored historic buildings. Visit to discover the fascinating story of rural life in this beautiful corner of England from the Iron Age to the middle of the 20th century.
 
 
  3  
Hosting theatre, cinema, music, comedy, dance and lectures, Helmsley Arts Centre has a varied programme with something for all the family.
 
 
 
Cotswold Outdoors  
Cotswold  
 
 
Cold weather kit for all of your outdoor needs
 
Keep warm whilst cycling during this winter season with 15% discount* for YHA members on outdoor clothing and equipment at Cotswold Outdoor. From insulated jackets and base layers to gloves to keep your fingers warm, we offer over 250 of your favourite brands, ensuring you stay comfortable on your next cycling adventure. Visit us online at cotswoldoutdoor.com
 
 
 
 
SYHA Get Active
 
  SYHA Get Active  
 
 
Up for the challenge? Our friends north of the border have organised an amazing sporting event that combines a 10-mile walk/run and a 34-mile cycle. SYHActive will take place on Saturday 18 April and will see competitors follow an incredibly picturesque route around Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond and Loch Arklet. You’ll find full details here. Alternatively, email SYHA for more information and to register your interest.
 
 
 
 
 
  Eden Classic 2015  
 
  Eden Classic 2015  
 
 
Cover 35, 62 or 100 miles cycling along stunning coastal roads, through pretty Cornish villages and past the world-famous Biomes of the Eden Project. What a prospect! The Eden Classic sportive on Sunday 10 May 2015 will be a mass-participation cycle ride with three route options. Want to take part? Here are all the details you need.
 
 
 
 
 
Next month:
   
 
  85 Years of YHA  
 
 
2015 marks 85 years of YHA (England and Wales) and so, in anticipation of our upcoming birthday, next month we’ll be dedicating The Wanderer to four of our longest established hostels. We’ll be exploring precisely why these veteran locations have remained so popular over the years and we can’t wait to celebrate.
 
 
 
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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