Responsible tourism: YHA Hostel nr Shoreham, South Downs
The hostel is making a strong conscious effort to implement effective environmental policy under the title, ‘The Green Spirit Plan.’ This aims to be in full effect by 2014. By that date, we are aiming to have reduced our energy consumption by 7% based on our 2009/10 figures, as we are also working towards the EU Ecolabel Scheme. We’re already doing this by taking measures such as only using energy saving light bulbs and having double glazed windows. Waste reduction is an aspect we’re also trying to improve upon; we want to measure a 10% improvement, at the very least, from our base year of 2011. Moreover, we want to ensure that ‘green units,’ e.g. energy from renewable sources accounts for 15% of our electricity usage. All of the meat we use on site is Red Tractor assured, which covers 7 areas of testing (food safety, animal welfare, protecting the environment, food origin, rigorous standards, traceability, independence and integrity).
The hamlet just near us is comprised of just 7 or 8 houses, so we know our neighbours very well. They’re invited up to use the hostel grounds and gardens freely. We also let local businesses and organisations use the large indoor space we have as a meeting area. Schools are popular at the hostel; they take advantage of the large amount of bed space to take children on trips up on the downs. Many of the local schools are regular visitors. We like to hold activities such as archery and guided walks for National Family Week, as we like to encourage families to explore the beautiful outdoors that is right on our doorstep here.
We are especially proud of our charity, Breaks for Kids, which facilitates the YHA in achieving its charitable aims by providing help for children, via a bursary scheme, from financially disadvantaged backgrounds when they take part in either a school or community trip. The mission of the hostel is to inspire all, to broaden their horizons gaining knowledge and independence through new experiences of adventure and discovery.
On a clear day on Truleigh Hill we have views to the English Channel and coast line, which is 5 miles away to the south. We are lucky to be located on the South Downs Way on a chalk ridge.A 2.7 mile walk away is atmospheric Devils Dyke, offering some absolutely stunning views across the South Downs and West Sussex. Although beautiful, it gets extremely windy so watch out!
As a result of the remote landscape we have a huge array of wildlife. We appear to have a resident sparrow hawk which can often be spotted circling the hostel in search of its prey. In addition, we have an abundance of long tailed tits and woodpeckers, rabbits and foxes. We encourage them into our landscape by putting us bird feeders, bird boxes, bat boxes and we’re currently looking into getting a bat detectors to give our guests. We also have a Dew Pond which attracts lots of insects and birds. The south downs way passed just by our doorstep, by which keen walkers can access all that the South Downs have to offer between Winchester and Eastbourne. Also within the area is the wonderful and historic Monarchs way. The River Adur winds through the valley towards Shoreham Harbour, and from many spots in the area the imposing towers of Lancing College can be seen.