If you have ever been to the breath-taking Whitepark Bay beach you will have noticed a small old whitewashed stone building on the way. Nestled into the dunes by the shoreline it has been featured on many Instagram posts (#whiteparkbay) because of its’ outstanding character.
The history of this building is long. It was formerly part of a larger building complex called the old ‘hedge school’. This 18th Century ‘school for young gentlemen’, included on its roll call – a certain Lord Castlereagh for his early education years. After the school closed for good most of the buildings became derilict and only the smallest one remained. The Youth Hostel Association Northern Ireland used it in its early days for keen and hardy travelers in the 1930s who had to arrive on foot, bear the cold and sleep on the floor. Today a new modern hostel at the top of the beach provides global backpackers and local groups with spectacular views across the bay. White Park Bay has been in the care of the National Trust since 1938 but our partnership has flourished ever since.
This summer we planned a joint painting effort as everyone agreed this was more than necessary. Joined by four volunteers, National Trust staff and the summer sun it was a great day spent outside in a stunning location. We finished off by looking down from the hostel and seeing the real difference it had made in conserving this historical building.