Shining Cliff Centre comprises Shining Cliff hostel and the Beech Hut within Shining Cliff woodland and offers woodland sessions for all ages. We are accredited with the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality badge.

The Hostel

Shining Cliff hostel was opened by the YHA on 29th March 1947 and was originally a collection of former wooden huts built by a community of young unemployed men who were learning woodcraft skills and living off the land, the Grith Pioneers (known as Grith Fyrd when established in the 1030’s).

On the 1st April 1976 the wooden hostel completely burnt down when clothes drying around a fire set alight. The hostel was rebuilt – this time in stone rather than wood, and re-opened in 1976.

The YHA gave up the hostel in 2007; the lease was then taken over by Lindley Educational Trust who refurbished the hostel and used the centre for environmental activities with young people.

The lease was taken over by Shining Cliff Centre CIC in March 2019; with the aim of keeping this iconic hostel open for people to experience this magical place. Many people love this hostel and return to it frequently; come and see for yourselves!

In the latest version of the Independent Hostel Guide

The Beech Hut.

The Beech Hut is one of the early buildings built by the Grith Pioneer community in the 1930s and 1940s. There were more wooden huts erected, but now only two remain, one of which is available to hire for the day.

Shining Cliff Woods.

The ancient oak woodland is set on the east facing valley side above the River Derwent. It was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1987. It is owned by several groups, including the Grith Pioneers, The Woodland Trust, The National Trust and the Forestry Commission.

The Oak woodland also contains Birch, Rowan, Hazel and Holly as native species. Sweet Chestnut, Larch and Scots Pine have been planted. Evidence of coppicing the Hazel and Sweet Chestnut can be seen on the walk to the hostel.

The acid Millstone-Grit soils result in a variety of plants growing on the woodland floor, including Bilberry, Wavy hair grass, Bluebells, Wood Millet, Bracken and Honeysuckle.

Bluebell splendour in May

In areas where streams flow or springs emerge there are species of Spagnum moss, ferns and sedges.

In the tree canopy a wide variety of birds can be spotted including Pied flycatchers, Wood warblers and flocks of Brambling in the winter.

In the ground layer many invertebrate species are found, including wood ants. The dead wood you will see in the woodland part of the management plan to provide a vital habitat for many species of invertebrate, mammals, bird, lichen and fungi.

The woodland is a wonderful, tranquil place to explore from Shining Cliff hostel.

Meet the Team…

Kate Tuck

I took over the lease of this iconic, independent hostel in 2019, and created my own company, Shining Cliff Centre C.I.C to run the hostel and woodland sessions to promote wellbeing.

I have a background in outdoor field studies and nursing; the hostel was a completely new step for me and I am passionate that as many people as possible are able to come and experience Shining Cliff hostel and the woodland!

I completed my Forest School Level 3 training in 2021 and Forest Bathing Guide training in 2023 to help me achieve my goal of providing sessions in the woodland that helps people connect with nature and support our wellbeing.

Kyla Sharpe

Kyla keeps the hostel and Woodland Hut looking super smart, she does a superb job of keeping the hostel clean and helping to maintain the hostel both inside and outside. Shining Cliff woods is definitely her ‘happy place’ and she spends a lot of time in Shining Cliff with her family.

Kyla also has her own business, BeeMagick, making products using beeswax and natural materials and is doing her Forest School Level 2 training in 2024.

Bonnie McNabb

Kate works in collaboration with Bonnie, from All About the Calm, to provide woodland sessions for all ages and we have a website, Woodland Connections at Shining Cliff, which gives more information on what we offer.

Bonnie has been working with children in schools for over 15 years. She is a licensed Relax Kids coach, a level 3 Forest School practitioner and a Forest Bathing Guide, as well as being trained in story massage and mindfulness. She has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology with philosophy and thoroughly enjoys helping people of all ages gain confidence and build resilience through a variety of fun and engaging methods.

Bonnie can be booked to run sessions in schools and you are welcome to contact her to discuss this.

The woods are her happy place and she is so pleased to be running these woodland sessions with Kate.