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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Plan to save under-threat hostels
A walker
Walkers are attracted to the remote hostels in mid Wales
Wardens at three remote youth hostels earmarked for closure have formed an action group to try to save them.

The Dolgoch, Blaencaron and Tyncornel Youth Hostel Association (YHA) properties near Tregaron, Ceredigion, are failing to attract enough visitors.

The three will close in the Autumn as the YHA sells 32 of its sites. The YHA has said it is responding to demand for better facilities and locations.

The group will have to raise more than 400,000 to buy all three hostels.

The Elenydd Wilderness Hostels group, which wants to save the three mid Wales hostels - known as bunk houses by the YHA - said the properties typified what hostelling was all about.

All three in Ceredigion epitomise what hostelling used to be like years ago
Marilyn Barrack

Walkers, cyclists and some pony trekkers are attracted to the tranquil mountainous area, said the group.

The hostel at Dolgoch, an old 16th Century farm house, does not have electricity, although it does have a gas-powered generator for cooking and washing and an open fire.

Group chair Marilyn Barrack, from Cardiff, is a volunteer warden who helps at the hostels between Easter and October.

She said: "When these dormitories close there will be none between north and south Wales.

"They are simple places not like the plush city centre hostels you get now. All three in Ceredigion epitomise what hostelling used to be like years ago."

Realistically the group may only be able to afford to save one hostel, but would try and purchase all three, said Mrs Barrack.

"We are asking for individual and group donations and we will apply for money from organisations too," she added.

Customer demand

Nearly one in seven youth hostels in England and Wales will shut over the next three years to help fund a revamp of the remaining properties, YHA announced in January.

It plans to invest 18m in some 200 remaining hostels to upgrade facilities and make them more attractive to visitors.

Countryside groups have expressed their disappointment at the decision.

But the YHA said it was responding to customer demand for better facilities in more popular locations.

Other hostels in Wales are earmarked for closure at Capel-y-Ffin in Monmouthshire and Trefin in Pembrokeshire.

Meanwhile, in Llangollen a campaign has already started to save the town's 120-bed hostel which is also set to close.




SEE ALSO:
AMs unite against hostel closure
26 Apr 06 |  North East Wales
Youth hostel gets 250,000 gift
12 Dec 05 |  Cumbria
Low visitors mark end for hostel
12 Dec 05 |  Cumbria


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