Source: Independent Hostels UK

Shining Cliff hostel

Shining Cliff hostel is located in Shining Cliff woods, 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.

Approach to the hostel, with the Woodland classroom on the right.

Shining Cliff hostel accommodates 20 people,

  • 5 bedrooms, all with bunk beds. Bedroom 1 sleeps 4, Bedroom 2 sleeps 6, Bedroom 3 sleeps 6, Bedroom 4 sleeps 2, Bedroom 5 sleeps 2.
  • Open plan self catering kitchen with fridge, freezer, dishwasher, microwave, range-style electric double oven and 6 ring gas hob, hot water boiler.
  • Dining area with seating for up to 20.
  • Lounge area
  • 3 bathrooms; each with a sink, shower and modern composting toilet. Solar panels top up the hot water supply.
  • Guests need to bring a sleeping bag and towel.

Outside the hostel is a picnic bench area with beautiful views over the woodland and a fire pit is located within the hostel grounds.

Fire pit evenings

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.

Long distance footpaths such as the Derwent Valley Heritage Way and the Midshires Way are easily accessed from the hostel.

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.

A boot camp residential by

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 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 has been 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 superb hostel in March 2019.

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 nearly a year into running the hostel combined with my nursing role and absolutely love it! I have spent 2019 slowly redecorating the hostel, now I am ready to try and reach more groups who can benefit from staying at this fabulous place and this incredible woodland. At the moment I am exploring the idea of running the hostel as a Community Interest Company, to enable groups less able to access the woodland to use the hostel. Any advice or suggestions or ideas are welcome!

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