Mindfulness for Beginners

If you're interested in starting or reconnecting with mindfulness practice, then this retreat at the beautiful and tranquil Sharpham House can help show you the way.

You'll be introduced to the practice of mindfulness meditation with guided sitting sessions, mindful walking, periods of silence, plus enough free time for rest and reflection.

You'll have opportunities to reconnect with nature and to benefit from the very special location of the historic Sharpham House and Estate, surrounded by stunning countryside in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

During this retreat you'll:

  • be introduced to ways of developing and sustaining a mindfulness practice and integrating your practice into daily life 
  • experience guided meditations
  • have the opportunity to experience mindfulness in the outdoors, helping you to connect with nature
  • experience the peace, tranquillity and beauty of Sharpham House and Estate
  • enjoy being cared for in Sharpham House, full-board, with delicious and healthy vegetarian food and staff to look after you
  • have the opportunity to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself, far from the busy-ness of daily life
  • experience periods of silence
  • have free time and time to yourself (unlike many retreats, all rooms are single occupancy)

Who is the retreat for?

The retreat is suitable for most adults aged 18 and above who want to learn mindfulness as an aid to everyday health and well-being. This retreat uses techniques and approaches from Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) with trained and qualified teachers and is suitable for you if you are new to mindfulness, or seeking to renew or reconnect with your practice.

Although meditation and mindfulness can be helpful in managing stress, depression and anxiety our retreats might not be suitable if you are experiencing major depression or other clinically diagnosed psychiatric illness such as bipolar disorder, psychosis or current self-harming. Click here for more information and for our booking process.

The retreat programme will include 3 daily guided meditation sessions both indoors and outdoors, and optional yoga with periods of silence to help strengthen the practice. There will also be question-and-answer sessions and guidance in bringing mindfulness, compassion, joy and equanimity into daily life.

If you're coming to stay with us on retreat, it is important to make a commitment to arrive in time for the first group meeting and to attend all the days. This ensures you experience the retreat programme from start to finish and helps your group of retreatants to gel.


All of our retreats usually include some short periods of silence as a way of deepening into mindful awareness. If you are new to spending time in silence in the company of other people, it can feel awkward to begin with. However people usually find this to be a useful experience and we encourage you to explore the silent periods in a spirt of openess and curiosity. The retreat moves into silence each evening from 9pm - 9am the following day and until 2pm on day 3 (see also schedule tab above for typical day) 

Typical retreat schedule

Day 1: Arrive between 4-5pm for welcoming talk and settling in

Mornings Afternoons
7.00am - wake up  12.30pm - guided sitting meditation
7.30am – mindful movement  1.00pm - lunch
8.00am - guided sitting meditation 2.30pm – teaching Q&A 
8.30am – breakfast and tasks 4.00pm - personal time 
9.50am – meeting  5.00pm  – guided sitting meditation
10.30am - walk of the grounds or personal time 6.00pm – supper and tasks
  7.45pm – personal time
  8.45pm – Deep relaxation
  9.00pm – House moves into silence until 9.00am the next day

Final day: depart 11.45am

The retreat will move into silence each evening from 9pm – 9am, and till 2pm on day 3.

An excellent introduction to mindfulness meditation - then to have those sessions woven through three days of stimulating company, delicious, healthy food in a setting so heavenly, made it the perfect still-point in a hectic life.

…deeply impressive, great experience and very complementary in styles....you could tell their respect for each other and us. Also good fun!

You were both so welcoming, warm and gentle – you achieved a great balance of leading and stepping back, enabling us to lead ourselves

(I liked) their wonderful soothing tone of voice...and their patience, openness and understanding

Ramiro's patience and spirituality made me feel confident...Patti's sense of fun and practicality gave me great reassurance

Venue and directions

This retreat takes place in beautiful and historic Grade 1-listed Sharpham House - set in a Capability Brown-designed landscape with stunning views over the steeply-wooded River Dart. 

The retreat is full-board with delicious home-cooked vegetarian food. 

Click here for directions.

Our food & your dietary needs

In line with sustainable practices across the Estate, our cooks produce delicious seasonal, vegetarian food for our guests. We source food whenever possible from our kitchen garden and support local food suppliers. The Estate's farm tenants produce award-winning wine and cheese as well as organic eggs, meat and vegetables.

We are used to accommodating a wide range of dietary needs including wheat-free, diary-free, vegan. Please indicate on your booking form if you have a dietary need. The booking form is sent as a link once you have booked and paid for a retreat.


We take sustainability seriously. All of the hot water and heating in the House is produced by a state-of-the-art bio-mass woodchip boiler and we have 2 large photo-voltaic arrays on barn rooftops. Our gardens are managed organically and we only use bio-degradable cleaning products.

Please visit our FAQs page to find out more information about staying at the house. We will also send you a link which includes a welcome letter with further info as well as what to bring.


£315 - Standard room, full-board.

£365 - Premium room, with views over the River Dart, full-board.

Mark Ovland

Mark has been dedicated to practising mindfulness since he discovered meditation in his mid-20s. Since then he has spent a year living as a monk in the Indian Himalayas and over six months on silent retreat. Having served as a residential coordinator for both the Barn Retreat Centre and Gaia House he now travels within the UK teaching mindfulness in a wide variety of settings from prisons to universities. He has trained with a number of institutions including as a Mindfulness Teacher at the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University.

Mark is a co-founder and trustee of Freely Given Retreats, a charity that offers donation-based meditation retreats typically revolving around an environmental theme. He is also a co-founder of the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE), a group that explores and actions possible Dharma responses to climate change.

Lynne Holmes

Lynne has a background as a nurse, health visitor and also trained as a psychotherapist at Metanoia in London in the early 1990s. While training as a therapist she became interested in meditation and has practiced for the last 15 +years. She has trained as a Mindfulness Teacher at Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre, Bangor University and Exeter University. She teaches MBSR groups for the Mood Disorders Centre at Exeter University and also mentors and supervises students taking the Mindfulness Diploma. She is passionate about teaching Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction to people suffering from stress and brings a depth of experience and compassion to her work. She has a daily meditation practice, receives regular supervision and attends regular silent insight meditation retreats.

Anna Murch

Anna has had a personal mindfulness practice of many years and continues to develop and deepen her practice. Having benefitted greatly personally from mindfulness, Anna went on to train as a teacher, completing her training with CMRP Bangor University. In addition, Anna has trained with the Mindfulness in Schools Project, becoming Certified as a .b for Teens Teacher (11-18 years) and .b Foundations Teacher (school staff). Anna has been teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction courses to unpaid carers for a number of years and has also been supporting the development of mindfulness with teaching staff and young people, within a number of schools in Devon.

Lynne Roberts

Lynne qualified as a chartered physiotherapist in 1987 and is currently a team leader in the out-patients department at Torbay hospital.  Since graduating she has specialised in the management of acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions and the emotional impact of these. She has been delivering mindfulness programmes for over 10 years within the NHS and at Sharpham. Lynne runs MBSR/MBCT courses having completed training at Bangor and Exeter University; Mindfulness for Health courses as an accredited Breathworks teacher and .b courses having completed training through the Mindfulness in Schools Project.

Ollie Frame

Ollie Frame has been co-leading yoga and meditation retreats for over five years. Trained in Mindfulness with Bangor University and the University of Exeter, he runs 8-week courses for members of the public as well as courses for teachers and students within schools and colleges. Ollie also works as an Integrative counsellor and has a particular interest in Psychosynthesis, depth psychology and inner journeying. Within the world of mindfulness, he is especially enthusiastic about self compassion, metta meditation and other heart-based approaches.

Patti Summerville - Mindfulness for Beginners retreat leader

Patti began a personal meditation practice in 1996 after attending a retreat at the Tushita Institute, Dharamsala, India. Over the years her practice has been influenced by Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist traditions and in 2013 she took on the role of co-ordinator at The Barn Retreat Centre, an Insight Mindfulness Meditation Retreat centre on Sharpham Estate. Patti trained as an Integral Hatha Yoga teacher in 2009 at the Sri Swami Satchidananda Ashram and has undertaken a Mindfulness Teacher training retreat with Exeter University. On a personal level Patti has found great benefit integrating mindfulness practice into her busy, everyday, private and professional life as an Occupational Therapist and is passionate about supporting others on their journey towards more contented, peaceful and compassionate lives.

Ramiro Ortega

Ramiro has practised mindfulness for over 15 years, and Insight Meditation since 2005. He teaches Mindfulness retreats at Sharpham House, as well as 8-week courses for the public, and also facilitates an Introduction to Buddhist Meditation at The Barn Retreat Centre. Ramiro trained to teach mindfulness with the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University.

Retreats & Events
Sharpham House: Mindfulness for Beginners retreat - 3 nights (with Ramiro Ortego and Patti Summerville)




Sharpham House: Mindfulness for Beginners retreat - 3 nights (with Ramiro Ortego and Patti Summerville)

Sharpham House: Mindfulness for Beginners retreat - 3 Nights (with Patti Summerville & Lynne Holmes)




Sharpham House: Mindfulness for Beginners retreat - 3 Nights (with Patti Summerville & Lynne Holmes)

Sharpham House: Mindfulness for Beginners retreat - 3 Nights (with Ramiro Ortega & Lynne Holmes)




Sharpham House: Mindfulness for Beginners retreat - 3 Nights (with Ramiro Ortega & Lynne Holmes)

Sharpham House: Mindfulness for Beginners Retreat - 3 Nights (with Lynne Roberts & Anna Murch)




Sharpham House: Mindfulness for Beginners Retreat - 3 Nights (with Lynne Roberts & Anna Murch)

Sharpham House: Mindfulness for Beginners Retreat - 3 Nights (with Patti Summerville & Mark Ovland)




Sharpham House: Mindfulness for Beginners Retreat - 3 Nights (with Patti Summerville & Mark Ovland)

All rooms are single occupancy, giving you your own space in which to relax.

There will be a maximum of 20 retreatants on this retreat.

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact the Programme Administrator on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-serve basis.

How to book easily and securely:

Ring us or email if you've got any questions.

Limited bursaries are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Please contact the Programme Administrator at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.

Please click here to see our booking and cancellations policy.