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Bridges Long Mynd YHA, Bridges, Ratlinghope, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
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Bridges Long Mynd YHA, Bridges, Ratlinghope, Shrewsbury, ShropshireTucked away in a valley between two huge ridges - the Long Mynd and Stiperstones — the youth hostel at the hamlet of Bridges was opened in 1931, just a year after the YHA was formed. In common with a handful of the association's hostels, an area has been set aside for campers - here it's a bijou lawn flanked by trees and topped off at one end by a retro caravan.

For first-time campers, or those who like a Plan В in place in case of rain, the great advantage of camping at a hostel is that those under canvas are welcome to use all the facilities that are available to hostellers — except the dorms, of course. Thus at Bridges, in the morning and evening (the hostel is shut during the day), campers can use the lounge, dining room, or kitchen, or even have breakfast and dinner cooked for them by the warden Angela, who grows much of the fruit and veg on site.

There's a pub just around the corner and some fabulous long-distance footpaths to try out - Wild Edric's Way and the Shropshire Way run right past the front gate - and, if you're lucky, you'll be serenaded by curlews for no extra charge.

Bridges Long Mynd YHA, Bridges, Ratlinghope, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

COOL FACTOR Cosy site with fab facilities.

WHO'S IN? Tents, groups - yes. Vanners, dogs - no.

ON SITE Thirty-six pitches on 2 lawns, with 5 loos and 1 really nice shower. Slide, swings, volleyball net, table tennis, board games, and shallow brook. Tiny shop on site, map hire and map sales, bike shed. Breakfast (£5.50) at 8am - various options, including veggie; dinner (£9.50 for 3 courses) at 7pm; and packed lunches (£5). No campfires, BBQs off ground okay.

OFF SITE The Jack Mytton Way is a 'very cydable' bridleway from Bridges to Much Wenlock; pony-trekking and horse-riding from Mynderley Stables (01694 751277).

FOOD AND DRINK Local live music pub the Horseshoe Inn (01588 650260) serves food Tues-Sat, or there's the Crown Inn (01588 650613; www.wentnor.com) at Wentnor.

GETTING THERE From the station at Church Stretton (off the A49) head west along the B4371 (Sandford Avenue), straight over the High Street and up the very steep Burway Road. Follow the sign right, to Ratlinghope, where you turn left at the T-junction, then first right. The hostel is on the left.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Train to Church Stretton and a shuttle bus to Bridges (April-September).

OPEN All year.

THE DAMAGE £7.50 per person, per night (no credit cards).

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