I'm new to this discussion group.
Here is a suggestion I've being making in a few other places eg hostelling internet discussion groups.
It relates to trying to do something to save some of the hostels in England and Wales that the YHA are planning to close - counting the ones announced last year, it actually amounts to around 1/4 of the whole network!
What if as many people as possible (individual walkers and cyclists, and members of various walking, cycling, or hostelling groups) try to visit these hostels sometime before they close eg in the Spring or Summer this year, and enjoy them and the countryside nearby, and take digital photos of the hostels and the surrounding area and other attractions, and/or produce some descriptions about them and the area. The photos and text could be put up on the internet eg "unofficial websites" for the closing hostels.
If this sort of grass roots publicity does improve overnights significantly at these places, and even people who were previously non-hostellers end up finding out these hostels and how nice they are this a) makes it harder for the YHA to justify closing them and b) may help to turn around some of the YHA's financial problems (which is why they feel that they have to sell off hostels in the first place).
Even if this approach does not gather enough momentum to make a real
difference (it really is difficult to predict whether something will capture people's imagination and take off, or end up being a damp squib), I think anyone who did take part might be glad that they managed to stay in some of these great places that we will never see again.
If you know anyone who is interested in the countryside and may want to stay in some lovely places before they are gone, please forward this to them as well.
I would like to encourage as many people as possible to get involved either setting up their own websites - different people have their own perspective or may want have their own individual touch on their websites (perhaps they are particularly interested in walking or cycling or visiting historic places, or are family or group or youth or senior oriented or whatever).
The total number of closures announced in the last 6 months are actually 50 rather than 32.
The closures are:
12 hostels which were announced as closing since August - Badby,
Lincoln, Crowcombe, Aysgarth, Ystradfellte, Kemsing, Malvern, Bradenham, Broadstairs, Winchester, Corris, Hampstead.
The information I have at present is that some of these are still open:
"Badby, Lincoln, are no longer available. Crowcombe will close in 2006 and is taking bookings to end of March. Broadstairs has disappeared from the map despite an offer being listed and the link is dead. Winchester has been taken back by the National Trust. Corris is still open - no longer associating itself with YHA. Bradenham will close in 2006 at a date to be finalised....Aysgarth and Ystradfellte have been sold. Kemsing, Malvern and Hampstead appear to be open as 'normal'"
6 more closures were announced over Xmas - Portsmouth,Baldersdale,
Blaencaron, Chester, Dentdale, Llanbedr.
I think they are still open at present.
32 more were announced very recently - the YHA are intending to start to close these later this year, but the closures will be spread over a longer period, so there may be more chance of saving some of them.
The following will be closed with no replacement.
1. Ivinghoe in the Chilterns and on the Ridgeway National Trail
2. Blackboys in the Sussex Weald on the Weald Way path.
3. Castle Hedingham in Essex.
4. Steps Bridge in the Teign Gorge near Exeter and Dartmoor.
5. Dartington near Totnes on the River Dart near Dartmoor and the South Devon Coastpath.
6. Quantock Hills near Holford in Somerset.
7. Elmscott near Hartland and Clovelly on the North Devon Coastpath.
8. Capel-y-Ffin in the Brecon Beacons on Offas Dyke and the Cambrian Way.
9. Trefin on the Pembrokeshire Coastpath.
10. Dolgoch in the remote Welsh Tywi Valley.
11. Tyncornel in the remote Welsh Elenydd.
12. Llangollen in the Clwydian Hills & Dee Valley; one of YHA's flagship activity centres till just a couple of years ago.
13. Meerbrook in the Peak District near the Roaches rocks and Staffordshire Moorlands.
14. Langsett near Sheffield on the newly-opened Trans-Pennine Trail.
15. Earby between the Yorkshire Dales and Forest of Bowland on the Pennine Way and Pendle Way.
16. Stainforth in the Yorkshire Dales on the Pennine Way and Three Peaks Challenge Walk.
17. Keld in Swaledale at the junction of the Pennine Way with the
Coast-to-Coast Path and Herriot Way.
18. Kirkby Stephen in the Eden Valley on the Coast-to-Coast Path.
19. Alston in the North Pennines and South Tyne Valley on the Pennine Wayand Coast-to-Coast Cycle Route.
20. Greenhead on Hadrians Wall and the Pennine Way.
21. Acomb near Hexham on Hadrians Wall between Northumberland and the North Pennines.
22. Bellingham near Kielder Water in Northumberland on the Pennine Way.
23. Wooler in the Cheviot Hills on St Cuthberts Way and the Ravenber Path.
The following will be closed but YHA will see if it's possible to open
another hostel in the area after they've closed:
24. Dover in Kent on the North Downs Way.
25. Hastings (Guestling) on the Sussex Coast.
26. Brighton (Patcham) on the South Downs Way.
27. Sandown on the Isle of Wight.
28. Lynton in Exmoor on the North Devon Coastpath and Two Moors Way.
29. Matlock in the Peak District.
30. Bakewell in the Peak District.
The following will be closed if YHA can open another hostel in the area:
31. Liverpool, only opened a few years ago.
32. Rotherhithe, opened a few years ago as a flagship hostel.