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5 reasons to go on a mindfulness retreat

Need a top-up? Er, always! If work, kids' summer hols or a busy lifestyle has left you depleted, here's how booking onto a Sharpham retreat can press your reset button.

When did you last really take some time out for yourself? Not just half an hour on a treatment table, but really meaningful time, where you get to put down that load for a day or two and give yourself some TLC. If it’s waaaaay too long, then the new £1.6m retreat centre, The Coach House, at Sharpham is a total godsend.

New for 2022, it’s a converted Grade 2-listed coach house with 18 rooms, set in 550 acres of leafy loveliness on the banks of the River Dart, offering a range of mindful four and six-night gardening retreats, designed to destress and defrazzle by putting you in touch with Nature.

Here’s what’s on offer:

1/Get into mindfulness and meditation

Whatever your meditation practice, you’ll be fine on a Sharpham retreat. Supportive retreat coordinators guide you if you’ve never meditated before, while those with lots of experience will find the beautiful outdoor settings for ‘sitting’ nourishing too. If it’s wet, you’ll be safe inside, don’t worry!

2/Meet like-minded people

When you’re on a Sharpham retreat, you’re part of a community, making and eating food together, sitting in circle, sharing, mindfully gardening. There’s plenty of personal time on each retreat, and you’ll have a single room to yourself at The Coach House but lots of participants report afterwards that connecting with different people whilst on retreat was a big plus-point. 

3/Tuck into awesome vegetarian food

Vegetarian and vegan food and drink is served – but that doesn’t mean that it is plain or boring. Sharpham cooks are demonstrating how colourful, tasty and exciting meat-free dishes can be. And they’re using a lot of produce grown in the Walled Garden – where you’ll be mindfully tending to the food & flowers growing there for future retreatants.  

4/Press the reset button

All of Sharpham’s retreats are perfect for this, but the Sustaining Ourselves 4-nighters are especially good. For anyone suffering stress, they provide mindful and meditative ways to beat burnout and anxiety. Of course, the amazing natural setting in a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty helps too.

5/Improve your gardening and understanding of re-wilding

Daily mindful gardening sessions happen in the 18th century Walled Garden just beside The Coach House. These are more about the feel of the soil on your hands than a teaching session, but you’ll be with Sharpham’s brilliant gardening team, which now includes BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Frances Tophill, so you’ll have the chance to pick their brains while you pick some peas! Sharpham is rewilding 50-acres of conventional farmland and Coach House retreatants visit the fields during their stay, encouraging a deeper connection to the land and its wildlife that, it’s hoped, lasts long after the retreat is finished.

WHEN TO GO

4-night Coach House retreat, 23 – 27 August, £425 standard rate, full-board

6-night Coach House retreat, 4 – 10 Sept, £495 standard rate, full-board

• 4-night stress-busting Sustaining Ourselves retreats, from 23 October and 4 December 4, £570 standard rate, full-board 

• 4-night Yoga with Mindfulness retreats, beginning 2 October and 13 November 13, £570 standard rate, full-board 

WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET?

Sharpham offer a three-band pricing structure for people of all incomes:

• Supported Rate: for those unable to pay the Standard or Benefactor Rate
• Standard Rate: Paying the Standard Rate means you will be contributing towards their running costs, supporting the work of The Coach House and helping retreatants of lower incomes to access retreats.
• Benefactor Rate: If you are able to pay the Benefactor Rate, you’ll be supporting others who cannot afford to benefit from a Coach House retreat on The Sharpham Estate. Your choice to pay this rate will help with the running costs of The Coach House, enabling them to continue their charitable work connecting people to nature and fostering mindfulness and wellbeing, as well as caring for the land, wildlife and wider estate.

The Coach House, The Sharpham Trust, Sharpham House, Ashprington, Totnes, Devon TQ9 7UT ; Tel 01803 731803; Email:  coachhouse@sharphamtrust.org

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