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A new lease of life for Peak District hall

Posted 1 March 2012
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A new lease of life for Peak District hall
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Those who like to go walking in the High Peak a lot will probably know all about Castleton. While not as wild or sparsely populated as Edale, it features fine scenery, underground attractions and a myriad of walking opportunities.

And whether one is familiar with it or not, youth hostellers will be in for a surprise this month.

The old Castleton Youth Hostel is no more and unlike some of the more controversial hostel closures elsewhere in the country, this is for a very good reason. Strapped for cash after government grant cuts, the Peak District National Park Authority decided to sell its training centre at Losehill Hall on the edge of then village and the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) stepped in.

It means the Grade II listed building will be opening this month as a larger hostel than its predecessor after £2 million of YHA funds went into its refurbishment.

YHA chairman Chris Darmon said: "This great new Youth Hostel will offer fantastic facilities for young people to learn about the natural environment, culture and history of the Peak District."

And learning facilities will still be available to the national park authority as agreed under the terms of the sale, making it a win-win situation.

With 144 beds, more people will be able to enjoy Cave Dale and other limestone features, the famous Castleton caverns - including the Blue John Mine - and the gradually crumbling Mam Tor, which is part of a ridge that separates the valley from the Vale of Edale, rising up near Hope and eventually continuing via Rushup Edge on to the outliers of the Kinder Plateau near the top of Jacob's Ladder.

Mam Tor itself is easily reached with a short walk from a road over the ridge and down into Edale, but perhaps its most notable feature is another road lower down, which was closed in 1939 as the continued subsidence of the hill caused it to crumble and means there is now a four-foot drop between two sections of tarmac.

But while the geological processes that have moulded and continue to shape the landscape continue, youth hostellers in Castleton will now be able to enjoy something of a man-made wonder.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801307817-ADNFCR