Youth Hos­tels

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - News -

Many of us re­mem­ber sweep­ing the floors on vis­its to youth hos­tels, but be­hind the com­mu­nal chores we all en­joyed grum­bling about lay a laud­able ethos: ‘To help all, es­pe­cially young peo­ple of lim­ited means, to a greater knowl­edge, love and care of the coun­try­side, par­tic­u­larly by pro­vid­ing hos­tels... for them in their trav­els, and thus to pro­mote health, rest and ed­u­ca­tion.’

The hos­tel idea had be­gun in Ger­many and its UK start was less than aus­pi­cious. The first one opened at Llan­r­wst in North Wales in 1930, but closed within a year be­cause the lo­cal farmer ‘saw no sin in mix­ing ma­nure with the drink­ing wa­ter.’ By the end of 1931, though, 73 hos­tels were open – two of which, Id­wal Cot­tage and Street, you can still stay at – and by 1939 there were 297 across Eng­land and Wales. And the as­so­ci­a­tion al­ways had an af­fec­tion for walk­ers. Its first pres­i­dent was G.M. Trevelyan who fa­mously said, ‘I have two doc­tors, my left leg and my right’, and for years the hand­book stated that: ‘Hos­tels are in­tended for Mem­bers when walk­ing or cy­cling, and are not open to mo­torists or mo­tor-cy­clists.’

Times have moved on – you can now drive too a hos­tel – but many of the more than 200 hos­tels stels across Bri­tain are in ex­cep­tional lo­ca­tions cations for walk­ers, where you can snooze inn some of Bri­tain’s most in­spir­ing views for less ss than £15 a night. Our all-time favourites in­clude­clude Black Sail in Cum­bria’s En­nerdale, Pwll­wll Deri on a lonely Pem­brokeshire clifftop andd the eco-hos­tel on the shore of Loch Os­sianssian on wildest Ran­noch Moor.

More info: See and www. Above: Price­less views for a few pounds a night at Pwll Deri. Right: A pink tri­an­gle on the map and a green one on the hos­tel door.

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