Barn People

Barn Manager: Peter Mallard

Peter Mallard, manager of The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

Peter Mallard discovered the life-changing benefits of Buddhist Insight Meditation in the late 1990s after many years of mantra-based meditation. Peter is passionate about integrating mindfulness into daily life. As headteacher of schools in challenging circumstances he found his regular practice in mindfulness, metta (loving kindness), joy and compassion to be of particular value to his work and relationships.

Peter has attended Buddhist retreats regularly since 1998 and is continually fascinated by the relationship of Buddhist psychology to modern life. He followed a two-year committed dharma practitioners’ study programme (CDPP) from 2011 and is currently working towards becoming a community dharma leader.  He is a member of a local dharma study group and a trustee of Gaia House Buddhist centre.  

Barn Residential Co-ordinator: Jess Stein

Sharpham Trust's Barn Retreat Centre co-ordinator Jess Stein

Jess Stein joined the Barn team as coordinator in April 2015. Her practice is a combination of movement and meditation. She has been practising yoga since childhood and has been teaching since 2010, influenced by Dru yoga and the teachings of Vanda Scaravelli. She came to meditation practice in 2009 and has been using a combination of Insight and Zen practices ever since. She is particularly inspired by the engaged Buddhism of Thich Nhat Hanh and teachings which encourage people to live more compassionate and connected lives. As part of this, Jess trained and worked as a palliative care nurse and continues to be passionate about helping people to live and die with peace and dignity.

Barn Residential Co-ordinators offer a year’s service at the Barn. They facilitate retreats, manage the house, office and garden and support retreatants.

Barn Residential Co-ordinator: Zoe Gavin

Zoe Gavin, Barn Coordinator at the Sharpham Trust

Zoe Gavin joined The Barn team as coordinator in January 2014. She has been a practising Buddhist for the past 15 years, and came to meditation in 2007 with the Triratna Buddhist Comunity in West London. Her enthusiasm for attending regular group and solitary retreats led to the decision to leave her job at Comic Relief and offer a year to The Barn in service.

Zoe has recently completed the 8-week mindfulness course and is interested in the benefits of a mindful practice on current lifestyles.

A qualified trainer in menstruality consciousness, she studied practising cycle awareness with the founder of The Woman’s Quest, Alexandra Pope. Menstruality is the female life process of menarche, the menstrual cycle, menopause and the mature years.

Barn Residential Co-ordinators offer a year’s service at the Barn. They facilitate retreats, manage the house, office and garden and support retreatants.

Barn Residential Co-ordinator: Natasha I

Natasha I residential co-ordinator of The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

Natasha I joined the Barn team as co-ordinator in September 2015. She discovered meditation 15 years ago, whilst employed as a human rights activist. Regular practice helped her deal with the stressful nature of her role and led to an exploration of different techniques and teachings. She is drawn to Insight Meditation, due to the sense of calm and balance that it gives her, as well as its ability to connect her to her inner wisdom.

Upon leaving her job, Natasha began an exploration of transformational living and volunteered at retreat centres in England, Hawaii and New Zealand. She particularly enjoys being part of an intentional community, where people can experience living with compassion and kindness on a daily basis. Natasha has an interest in the connection between meditation and health and is a certified Reiki practitioner. 

Barn Residential Co-ordinators offer a year’s service at the Barn. They facilitate retreats, manage the house, office and garden and support retreatants.

Barn teacher: Alan Lewis

Alan Lewis

Alan Lewis has been engaging in spiritual inquiry and meditation practice since the 1970s. He spent 17 years as a Theravadin Buddhist monk and disrobed in December 2000. He now runs a computer business and also a website with his partner Vanessa.

Barn teacher: Diana St Ruth

Diana St Ruth

Diana St Ruth has been a practising Buddhist since the early 1960s, mainly in the Theravada and Zen traditions. She has been a partner of the Buddhist Publishing Group since its inception in 1983, lived in Sharpham North Buddhist Community from 1989 to 1993, and is the editor of Buddhism Now, a paper-based magazine which ran for 18 years and since 2006 has become web-based. She has written and edited a number of books on Buddhism.

Barn teacher: Gavin Kilty

Gavin Kilty

Gavin Kilty spent 14 years in India studying Buddhism with Tibetan teachers. Eight of these years were spent at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics Studies in Dharamsala set up by HH the Dalai Lama, where  he completed the major part of the Tibetan monastic curriculum in the medium of the Tibetan language. He now works full time as a Tibetan-to-English translator of Tibetan texts.

Barn teacher: Jenny Wilks

Jenny Wilks

Jenny Wilks has practised in various Buddhist traditions since 1988, focusing in recent years on Insight Meditation (vipassana). She also has an MA in Indian religions and has studied Pali, the language of the ancient Buddhist texts. She has assisted on Dharma gatherings in France and India, and has taught at the Barn since 2004 and at Gaia House since 2008. Jenny is a clinical psychologist and has trained in mindfulness-based therapies which she has taught to staff and patients in healthcare settings. She currently works as an Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapist based at Exeter University.

Barn teacher: Ken Streat

Ken Streat

Ken Streat travelled to India in 1976 and spent the next seven years travelling, meditating, and meeting with spiritual teachers. His background in Vipassana was with SN Goenka and other teachers in the U Ba Khin tradition in both India and Burma. Along with the Buddha he has been inspired by the more contemporary voices of J Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ramana Maharshi. Ken came to Devon to be a manager at Gaia House in 1985. He has lived locally since then and was a Gaia House trustee until 2005. Ken is married with two grown-up children. He works on the Sharpham Estate as a furniture maker.

Barn teacher: Kirsten Kratz

Kirsten Kratz

Kirsten Kratz has practised Buddhist meditation in Asia and the West since 1993. In 2006 she was invited to teach and since 2008 teaches group retreats in Gaia House where she also supports those on personal retreat. One of her particular passions is exploring how wisdom teachings can foster appropriate responses to the challenges of our time; she is co-initiator of the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement: DANCE and facilitates retreats with SanghaSeva combining Dharma practice and Service.

Barn teacher: Mahesi Caplan

Mahesi Caplan

Mahesi Caplan ordained in the Buddhist Forest tradition of Ajahn Chah at the age of 22 and trained in European monasteries over 15 years. Interested in synthesizing western and eastern influences, he continues teaching contemplative practices at The Barn and to groups in Totnes, Devon.

Inspired by life, monastic training in the Theravada Forest Tradition and inspirational teachers, he shares what he can with the intention of exploring ways to practically engage & accelerate the process of cultivating unconditional contentment.

Barn teacher: Mark Øvland

Barn teacher: Mark Øvland

Mark Øvland discovered meditation in his mid-twenties and has been devoted to it ever since. After spending a year living as a monk of the Ramakrishna Order in India, he served as coordinator at the Barn and then Gaia House.

Mark has a passion to serve the incarcerated and is working hard to make mindfulness available to the tens of thousands of people living behind bars in the UK. Outside of prison work he teaches in schools, universities and the workplace.

Barn teacher: Stephen Bellows

Stephen Bellows

Stephen’s interest in Buddhist thought and practice has been influenced by the Theravadan tradition, studying the Pali Canon and regular retreats at Gaia House and Sharpham.

Stephen particularly values practising with others. In pursuit of this, he facilitates a meditation and discussion group in his local area, a local study group for Continuing Dharma Practice Programme participants and a local sangha network.

Stephen teaches an 'Introduction to Buddhist Meditation' at the Barn.

Barn teacher: Ramiro Ortega

Barn teacher: Ramiro Ortega

Ramiro studied philosophy and has practised insight meditation since 2005. Interested in the philosophical wisdom of the West and the ancient practice of Buddhist meditation, Ramiro combines these two approaches to help people live a happier, more compassionate and wiser life. Ramiro leads 8-week mindfulness courses for the public and teaches introduction to Buddhist meditation at the Barn retreat centre.

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about the information on this page, please contact:

Name: Barn Manager Tel: +44 (0)1803 732661

Address: The Barn Retreat, Lower Sharpham Barton, Ashprington, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 7DX