Gatliff Trust

Objectives and aims

The Gatliff Trust was founded in 1961 by Herbert Gatliff.  Today it is dedicated to encouraging young people, especially those of limited means, to experience, explore and appreciate the British countryside.  This is a wide brief from which it picks out specific themes: small hostels, especially in wilderness areas such as the Outer Hebrides, the adventure of hostelling and personal exploration of the countryside.

It was the brainchild of Herbert Gatliff (1897-1977) who was an early enthusiast for the outdoor movement and youth hostels in the 1930s.

Small Youth Hostels

Youth hostels are central to the Gatliff Trust’s vision of its mission. A network of hostels must exist in remote rural areas, coastal areas, and amongst our islands’ hills, moors and wildernesses, to provide opportunities for young people to explore the countryside.  In a consumerist age the value of engagement with natural beauty is  particularly important, especially for young people of limited means, and small hostels in remote places are an ideal means of making this possible.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Trust contributes to appeals for the improvement or development of small hostels.  Its only stipulation is that these hostels remain part of the voluntary youth hostel or bothy movement.  The Gatliff Trust will not support commercial bunkhouses.

Postellers Group

The Postellers Group was set up with Herbert Gatliff’s help in 1968 and ceased taking young people youth hostelling last year. The ex- volunteer leaders have undertaken a legacy that includes an oral history and film and a website. The Gatliff Trust is able to continue to support these young people. See this page on our website for further information on Postellers.


The Trust allocates annual amounts to organisations and causes which it wishes to support. To maintain their real value these are based on the income from a set number of M & G Charifund units (the investment in which our own funds are held).  We expect organisations to keep in touch with our nominated contact by sending their annual report and accounts.  We are also willing to consider one-off appeals for additional funds from these organisations.

Other Grants

The Gatliff Trust also makes grants to relevant projects and organisations especially those which are working to encouraging young people to visit the countryside, maybe by organising youth hostelling or camping trips or by encouraging independent travel.

Report of the Gatliff Trust 2013-2015

In 2017 a review of the work of the Gatliff Trust spanning 2013 to 2015 was published. It may be downloaded here.

Current Trustees

Tony Burton
Alan Busson
Peter Clarke
Roger Clifton
Stuart Colley
Andrea Gilbert
John Humphries
John Joyce
Philip Lawson MBE
Carrie Martin
Katherine Martin
Diane Nightingale MBE
Tim Porter

For further information

Elsewhere on this website there is further information on the Gatliff Hebridean Hostels Trust. See here.
Elsewhere on this website there is further information on Herbert Gatliff. See here.