Travel by Design Bunkhouse
Yurting and glamping? So last year. Camping? Well, the weather so far this summer hasn't been inspiring and the cost of all that kit can be prohibitive. Not to mention the shrinking size of pitches at some of the more popular sites.
Step forward the humble British bunkhouse, hostel and bothy. Shrugging off the image of rundown dormitories strewn with the wet socks of strangers, the bunkhouse is enjoying a revival as more people stay in the UK for their holidays and more go walking and cycling across the green and pleasant parts of the land.
Offering cheap shelter from the rain, situated in some of the best scenery the UK has to offer, often for less than you would pay in airport tax alone for the average foreign holiday, the hostelling holiday is coming into its own.
Some 50 minutes from London, down a leafy, single-track lane outside the Surrey market town of Haslemere sits Hunter's Lodge, a pleasant half-timbered building with a few sheep idling outside and the forests and meadows of the South Downs National Park stretching for miles around. Just refurbished by the National Trust, the lodge is being run as a bunkhouse and sleeps 19.
"We're finding that people who might have gone to France or Italy before, especially if you're a big family group, are now coming here, " said David Elliott, head ranger at Black Down Estate, 100 acres of National Trust land surrounding Hunter's Lodge. "And it's not just families, but walkers' groups and ramblers, cyclists. There is definitely a great rise in people using the outdoors. We're seeing the membership of the National Trust growing too, and that's a great thing, as we want people to be more passionate and more involved in the British countryside."
It is a little disconcerting to admire the miniature belted Galloway cows grazing across the field and then notice that the hearth rug is made of the same distinctive pelt, but the accommodation is clean and comfortable. With a wood-burning stove, more than adequate kitchen and bedrooms of single bunks, it runs on a log-fired biomass boiler that uses wood coppiced from the forests.
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