Responsible tourism: Telscombe hostel nr Lewes, South Downs, England
The hostel recycles everything possible and other efforts to reduce the hostels impact on the environment include 30 sec timers on the showers and all lights being on a sensor. The Youth Hostel Associationís mission is to help all, especially young people of limited means, to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside. YHA help provide over 8,000 schools, colleges and youth groups to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and other educational needs. Even in the early days of the YHA, great emphasis was placed on the availability of public transport. Within the 1951 YHA regulations it stated that hostels were for the use of people travelling by foot, by bicycle, or canoe, not for people touring by car or bike. Although this policy was changed in more recent years, partly due to the decline in rail services, the YHA still very much encourage visitors to arrive by foot, bike or public transport. Telscombe YHA offer secure bike storage and a drying room for those arriving in typical British weather.
Eastbourne YHA is part of a wider scheme within YHA called Breaks for Kids. The charitable fund helps children from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, by paying for them to take part in a school or community group get away in the countryside. These short breaks away give children life-enhancing experiences through adventurous educational stays that they would otherwise be excluded from without the support YHA provide. YHA also work with the Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence to run FAB camps that offer support to bereaved service families, bringing them together with others who have faced loss.
Telscombe YHA is overseen by one full time manager and run solely by volunteers. There is a strong team of volunteers who take it in turns to work on a weekly basis to maintain the hostel and ensure the building runs smoothly. As a registered charity YHA relies on help from members and donors to support the work they do. Donations, legacies and grants help to keep hostels up to standard and deliver great experiences. There are also many opportunities to volunteer at YHA, commitments range from running small hostels, to grounds maintenance to working for one of the many summer camps.
The hostel is situated in the tiny village of Telscombe, a short distance from the South Downs Way. This rural retreat will be perfect for anyone looking for a combination of coast, countryside and town for their family break. You can stroll up the quiet country lane by the hostel and after two minutes the view reveals itself, miles of rolling green countryside.
Telscombe is ideal for cycling, not only are their plenty of quiet country lanes but also the National Cycle Network (Newhaven to Portsmouth) is just 2 miles from the hostel. Plus the mountain bikers wonít be disappointed; the route along the South Downs Way is a roller-coaster ride where you could easily forget youíre in the south east of England.
At the hostel you can enjoy the best of both worlds, the tranquility of this rural location whilst still being accessible to Brighton within 20 minutes by bus. Brighton is a fabulous seaside day, be sure to explore the laines, check out the quirky vintage shops and eat at one of the many individual cafes. Lewes is also accessible, just 7 miles over the South Downs and is a thriving market town bursting full of antique shops.
This area is classified as Open Downland. It is characterised by the rolling chalk downland, with dry valleys and scarp slopes. The Sussex flint sheepfolds, barns and shepherds cottages dotted around this area are a visual reminder of the former extent of sheep grazing. This area has strong literacy and artistic connections such as Virginia Wolfe and Vanessa Bell who lived close by.