Tuesday, 19 June 2018

East Marden YHA....A Full Circle....

Last year I told you about my visit to a water mill near St Ives Huntingdon that had been a Youth Hostel that I had visited 55 years earlier while I was on a cycle ride with one of my childhood mates....
Well when we were staying near Chichester a few weeks ago I visited another of the Youth Hostels that I had visited as a youngster.....

This time it was the YHA at East Marden West Sussex.....
I remember the ride quite well...
Leaving home at Feltham Middx which is where we were living at the time the ride consisted of Milford YHA.... East Marden YHA.... Portsmouth YHA.... Southampton YHA.... Hindhead YHA and then back home.

This ride was really like a tester for the ride we did the following year when I visited the Water Mill near Huntingdon and although I remember all of the YHA's we visited on that earlier trip it was the one at East Marden that I remember the most....

I think the main reason for that was because we had met a couple of girls that happened to be staying at the youth hostel when we stayed there and Paul and I were a bit reluctant to have to move on.....
I remember taking a picture of my bike under the old thatched well in the village and also stopping at a bend in the road as we cycled away from the village and looking back at the Youth Hostel.... 

As Anne and I were reasonably close to the village when staying near Chichester I decided to cycle out there for a visit...this would me the first time that I had been back to the village since I was thirteen......

The House That Used To Be East Marden YHA
 The ride out to the village was really enjoyable and it seemed to have hardly changed....
Happily it doesn't seem to have grown at all... no new buildings and everything just as it was all those years ago....
Standing looking at the building that used to be the Youth Hostel that first visit all came flooding back to me.......
East Marden Village Church
 I remembered sitting outside the church eating a 'Fry's Five Boys' chocolate bar while we waited for the Youth Hostel to open on the evening of our arrival. The seat outside the church was still there......
East Marden Thatched Village Mill
 As I sat there eating that chocolate bar we could see the village mill opposite us.....
An image of the mill was used as an ink stamp that you had stamped in your YHA membership card when you visited the hostel.....
It was also used on a badge that you could buy to add to your collection of hostel badges and I remember buying one on the morning that we left the hostel......
Bike Lean Image at the Well...
As Paul and I sat there all those years ago we decided that it would be a good idea to take a photo of each of our bikes under the thatch of the village well.....
In those days the photos were of course in black and white......

On this my 2018 visit to the village I did the same thing..... my current bike is worlds away from the heavy bike that I was riding on that trip as a youngster but I stood it in the exact same spot for the colour shot taken on my phone....

I would never have thought as a thirteen year old all those years ago that I would be re-visiting the village as a seventy year old riding a bike and taking pictures in those same spots......
I really enjoyed my return visit and as I rode away I came to the bend in the road where I had stopped and looked back towards the hostel... I stopped and looked back... the only thing that had changed was that view...the trees have grown and now obscure the hostel...

I remounted my bike and headed back in the direction of Chichester.....

As I rode away the phrase 'Full Circle' entered my thoughts.... I thought of all the rides that I have done since that trip as a youngster and here I was again cycling that same route...In cycling terms it really was a 'Full Circle'

2 comments:

Dave said...

Its good to look back on old hostels visited. I still sometimes use them but their role has changed as much as the people who used them 50 or 60 years ago. Many now are block booked way in advance by schools and groups and are impossible to book by a lone traveller. I often visit the Old Mill in Winchester which is now National Trust and that was a YH, they still have the visitors book on display and the comments are very interesting. Young people on cycling holidays etc. A bygone era. I still pay my YHA membership though, as much as a donation to something I thoroughly enjoyed.

Trevor Woodford said...

@Dave.
As it happens Dave the Old Mill at Winchester was the last YH that I stayed at... That must have been 15 or so years ago.... I must admit that I felt a wave of disappointment when I found out a few years ago that it was no longer a YH ..... Ah well happy memories.....