Uncontrived Mindfulness: from Awareness to Wisdom with Vajradevi

Tune into a state of being that’s sane, awake, emotionally-connected and joyful.

Vajradevi retreat at The Barn

Whilst mindfulness is a quality of mind and heart we can cultivate, it is also something we can learn to notice occurring quite naturally. The more we tune into its arising and passing, the more it grows and establishes itself as a new way of being with ourselves and in the world.

Along with awareness, we can open to a 'wise attending' that recognises that the choices we make either affect our emotional dis-ease or create conditions for more happiness, confidence and ease.

Be in the beauty of nature to let your senses be alive to what is natural within. We'll draw from the Buddha's primary teaching on mindfulness, showing how accessible and how subtle and profound the aware mind can be.

The teacher on this retreat will help you to develop and extend your mindful experience.

Read on for more details on this retreat and click the Leaders, Schedules and Venue & Directions tabs above for further information.

Stay in community in The Barn

Staying alongside inspirational teachers

This retreat is for you if you:

  • want to go deeper into dharma, with an experienced teacher close at hand
  • are prepared to live and work in community, preparing meals together and working in the gardens
  • are aged 18 and above

Retreats with residential teachers

Our retreats with residential teachers are similar to standard retreats with extra teaching.

There will be a maximum of 10 participants on this retreat. Click here to view costs

There are periods of silence on each of our retreats.

Our programme of standard 6-night retreats at The Barn can be viewed and booked here

Daily meditations

There are approximately three 40-minute meditation sittings each day, and it's important that you commit to them to deepen your practice and connect to the community here.

Working on the land

It is important that you are willing to participate in working on the land as part of your mindfulness practice (we can easily find suitable tasks for people with health difficulties) and that you can commit to all the scheduled activities during the week.

A bedroom at The Barn at Sharpham

What you’ll experience on this retreat

During this retreat you’ll:

  • experience guided meditations and periods of silence and quiet contemplation
  • be living in community with like-minded people, sharing experiences and tasks, including the making of meals and taking care of the house
  • have a single-occupancy room and your own space in which to rejuvenate, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself
  • have access to 24-hour hot teas, coffee & infusions in the kitchen
  • be able to explore the beautiful Sharpham Estate, set within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to nature, amid breath-taking scenery on the banks of the River Dart

View from The Barn - by participant Gary Fielder

Mindfulness in nature at Sharpham

When you experience Sharpham's inspiring and nourishing environment, we hope you'll connect spiritually with the natural world, so you’ll:

  • become aware of how we are all part of nature - not artificially separate from it
  • pay attention to and appreciate the natural world surrounding us
  • explore nature through your senses and your natural creativity
  • Tread more lightly on our finite planet, developing a respect and reverence for all living things

Click here to read our ethos and principles

A detail of The Barn's garden - pic by participant Gary Fielder

What might you bring?

If you decide to stay with us, we’ll send you a list of what you need to bring for this retreat in your Welcome Letter. But you might consider the following:

  • Comfortable, loose clothing for meditation and movement sessions
  • Indoor footwear/slippers
  • Suitable seasonal clothes – it can get cold in the evening and in the winter
  • Boots or comfy waterproof outdoor shoes and a waterproof jacket are advisable for local walks
  • A journal or notepad if you want to write or draw during your time here

Find out more about staying at The Barn on our Frequently Asked Questions page

Food at The Barn

Food & your dietary needs

We have a fully stocked organic and vegetarian kitchen. The main meal is at lunch time. Everyone takes a turn to prepare this meal in pairs (this will be organised at the Sunday welcome meeting). We have plenty of simple recipes for you to choose from, or we can direct you to one in particular. Some participants like to use their own recipe ideas.

We can cater for some different dietary needs such as wheat-free, vegan etc. Please make sure you include dietary restrictions on your Booking Form. We may need to communicate further with you about specifics. The booking form is sent as a link once you have booked and paid for a retreat.

Our water is provided from our own spring, UV treated and filtered.

Your physical and mental health

This retreat is suitable for you if you have some meditation experience, or you are 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

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have a room close to a toilet, please contact The Barn team on the number below and we'll try to help.


The Barn draws me back year after year. The experience of working and sharing in mindful work and living is very special and never fails to deepen and enhance my practice.

View from The Barn


Retreats with residential teachers have a tighter schedule and have less free time than our standard 6-night retreats.

Note that we hold silence from 9pm to 9am each day, and all day Wednesday.


2.00pm to 4.00pm – Your arrival
4.30pm – Welcome talk, introductions and tour
5.30pm –  Guided meditation
6.30pm – Light evening meal. Then settling in
9.00pm – The Barn goes into silence until 9.00am the next day

Monday to Friday:

This is a typical schedule and will adjust to each teacher's needs.

Mornings Afternoons
6.20am – Wake up 12.20pm – Meditation (some guided) 
6.50am – Meditation 1.00pm – Lunch
7.30am –  Household tasks 2.00pm – Personal time
8.00am – Breakfast 2.30pm – Teaching
9.00am – Silence ends, Barn meeting (except Wednesday) 5.00pm – Meditation 
10.30am – Mindful gardening (except Wednesday) 6.00pm – Light supper prepared individually or in groups
  7.00pm – Meditation (some guided)
  9.00pm – The Barn moves into silence until 9.00am the next day


As above until 8.00am. Silence ends at breakfast. Then it's time to clear your room and depart between 9.00am and 11.00am.


A beautiful way to slow down, listen in and be in a welcoming and loving community. This has been an enriching week - stunning surroundings, lovely people, delicious food, very skilled and compassionate facilitators, and wise teachers.

This week at The Barn has been food for my heart. I feel calmer and more connected. The kindness of all the people here, the healthy food, the chance to be in nature were so helpful.

This experience was a long overdue gift to myself. It felt both restorative and gently transformative--a very special week.

Coming to the Barn is an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, with your body and mind in the context of wonderful nature. It is immersive, and helps to blur the lines between body/mind, self/other, and human/nature.

This retreat takes place at The Barn, with superb views over the River Dart.

Click here for our How to Find Us page on this website.

Click here to view and download directions and a map to The Barn

Click here view and download walking/cycling directions to The Barn

The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have a room close to a toilet, please contact The Barn team on the number below and we'll try to help.

Phones and laptops

We ask all participants to turn off mobile phones and electronic devices for the whole of your retreat. This helps you and everyone else to disengage from daily life and live fully in the simplicity and quietude of a Buddhist retreat.

We are 3 miles from Totnes – famous for its Transition Town movement

We are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Handy BuddhismSustainability

We take sustainability seriously.

Heating and hot water in The Barn is run from our log furnace and solar thermal panels. We supply as much food as possible from our organic gardens; the rest comes from Riverford Organic Farms and Essential Trading Cooperative. We also have two large photovoltaic solar panel arrays on the Estate and use biodegradable cleaning products wherever possible.

Gardening at The Barn

Sponsor rate: £390 plus dana

We are committed to ensuring that retreats at The Barn are accessible to all - regardless of income. Paying the Sponsor rate allows us to support those who are only able to afford the Standard Rate and contributes towards our operating and running costs.

The Sponsor rate works out at £55 per person per night and includes all meals, bedding and towels.

Standard rate: £340 plus dana

This is for those unable to pay the Sponsor rate. The Standard rate works out at £48.33 per person per night and includes all meals, bedding and towels.


Dana is the Pali word for generosity or donation. The teachers are receiving only a small payment for teaching at The Barn and are generously giving their energy and understanding to us all. Please consider giving a donation to teachers for the retreats that they lead.

Room types

a room at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

All rooms are comfortable single rooms, with a shared bathroom.

Hot drinks are available 24 hours for you to get for yourself in the kitchen.


Limited bursaries are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Contact the Barn team on the number or email below at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.

Our bursary fund relies on donations. If you’d like to help another to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here


Vajradevi has been meditating for over 30 years within the Buddhist tradition and is a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. She has also studied with the Burmese teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya. Her practise has been strongly influenced by the receptive and transformative power of mindfulness.

Retreats & Events

All rooms are single occupancy.

How to book easily and securely:

If you've got any questions about this retreat, call The Barn team on 01803 732661 or email [email protected]

We’re not always in the office, so be prepared to leave a message saying when we could call you back.

Do check our Calendar to see and book for our events - or join our mailing list by clicking here to be kept in touch about Sharpham Trust news, retreats & events.