Sneak preview of £5m downland attraction

Southease YHA
Southease YHA

The UK’s newest youth hostel, YHA South Downs near Southease, is giving local residents a sneak peak at the £5million development.

An open day at the exciting attraction, largely funded by a grant of £3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will take place on Easter Sunday (March 31), before it opens for bookings on April 5.

The event will feature a hog roast, Easter egg hunt and children’s crafts at the converted 13th century farmhouse formerly known as Itford Farm.

Activities will be taking place from 10am until 4pm and everyone is welcome. The new Courtyard Café will also be open for cakes and refreshments.

The hostel’s new manager Dale Richards said: “YHA South Downs has been a long time coming. By giving local people the chance to have a sneak peak of the new Youth Hostel and join us for a fun day is our way of saying thank you for their patience.”

The Youth Hostel’s facilities and prime location on the intersection of the busy A26 trunk route – the gateway to the UK’s newest National Park – are expected to make it a hugely popular venue for members of the local community, schools and tourists. As well as accommodation YHA SouthDowns is also a visitor centre for walkers and school parties.

Chief Executive of the South Downs National Park Authority Trevor Beattie, said: “It’s vital that visitors to the South Downs feel connected to the National Park’s landscapes, wildlife and communities as that’s the best way to encourage people to take care of them. The new Youth Hostel and visitor centre on the former Itford Farm site will be a fantastic gateway into the South Downs National Park both for the local community and people travelling from further afield.”

The development of the site into a 68-bed Youth Hostel, café and visitor centre has been made possible thanks to generous donations. Later in the year the YHA South Downs will have an official opening recognising the efforts of everyone involved to create the world-class facility.

In addition to the Heritage Lottery Fund and South Downs National Park, YHA South Downs has been made possible thanks to the Greenbank Trust, Active Lewes and the original owners of Itford Farm, the Rees family.

To book visit www.yha.org.uk or call 0800 0191700.