Shining Cliff Centre comprises Shining Cliff hostel and the Woodland Hut within Shining Cliff woodland.

The Hostel

Shining Cliff hostel is located in Shining Cliff woods, near Ambergate, Derbyshire. It is a stunning, peaceful woodland setting.

 The hostel itself nestles into the base of Shining Cliff, giving both the hostel and woodland their name.

The hostel is accessed only by foot, the nearest car park is 1/2 mile away; creating a unique, get-away-from-it-all experience.

Shining Cliff hostel accommodates 20 people,

  • 5 bedrooms, all with bunk beds. Gecko Blaster sleeps 4, The Bat House sleeps 6, Holly Days sleeps 6, Pillar Chimney sleeps 2, The Far Side sleeps 2. The bedrooms have been named after climbing routes on the cliffs behind the hostel.
  • Open plan self-catering kitchen with fridge, freezer, dishwasher, microwave, range-style electric double oven and induction hob, hot water boiler.
  • Dining area with seating for up to 20.
  • Lounge area
  • 3 bathrooms; each with a sink, shower and compost toilet.
  • Outdoors is a picnic bench area with beautiful views over the woodland and a fire pit is located within the hostel grounds.

It is an ideal location for family or group get-togethers, school groups and youth groups; with the woodland, crags and streams to explore.

The hostel is also ideal for groups seeking to reconnect with the natural environment and have time away from the stresses of modern life; an ideal location for retreats.

Please note: sometimes camping groups using the woodland use the external water tap at the hostel by prior arrangement. The footpath to the hostel is a public footpath. Shining Cliff crags are sometimes used by climbers.

The hostel and woodland is an amazing place to explore, but be aware the picnic area has a steep drop on two sides that is unfenced and requires supervision with children. Please be vigilant that in high winds there is increased risk of injury from falling branches. The footpath to the hostel is rough and uneven. There are unfenced cliff edges in the woodland and a reservoir. Several parts of the hostel grounds have crags, it is assumed that people using the area personally assess the risks when exploring or using the area.

The Woodland Hut.

The Woodland 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.

History of the hostel…

Shining Cliff hostel was opened by the YHA on 29th March 1947 and was originally a collection of former wooden army huts.

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 Limited 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!

Meet the ‘team’…

My name is Kate Tuck, I took over the lease of this iconic hostel in March 2019 and created my own company, Shining Cliff Centre Limited, to run the hostel.

I have a background in outdoor education and nursing – the hostel is a completely new step for me as I am passionate that people of all ages can access this beautiful hostel and woodland.

I am now in my 3rd year of running the hostel absolutely love it! I have spent 2019 and much of 2020 slowly redecorating the hostel, and coping with coronavirus restrictions, now I am ready to try and reach more groups who can benefit from staying at this fabulous place and this incredible woodland. I had the opportunity in November 2020 to start my year-long Level 3 Forest School leader training, which I plan to use to offer Woodland sessions based from the Woodland Hut.

In December 2020 the company converted from a limited company to a Community Interest Company, with the aim of providing a venue and events that promote the 5 Ways to Wellbeing.

Contact info