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Tending the Garden: a 6-night eco-gardening retreat

Sanjay Soni

10 months ago, on Google
The Barn is a very special place set in a beautiful location with amazing views. You can feel the calm harmonising energy of the barn and the wonderful team create a safe space to share and learn. I've stayed at the barn twice in the last couple of years and will definitely be returning. Highly recommended if you would like to connect with nature, community and yourself.

Two Rivers Paper Co

6 months ago, on Google
I’ve just come back from a week away at the Barn. I can honestly say it’s one of the best weeks of my life! The whole place is filled with such honest, down to earth kindness. I felt totally accepted and the group were amazingly supportive of each other. The coordinators were extremely knowledgeable, open and friendly. I feel like I’ve had new life blown into my soul. I will definitely be booking again for a second time possibly a third and fourth! Thank you 🙏

Mike Howell

a month ago, on Google
The location is serene; the venue and accommodation is very comfortable. My first retreat, and not my last, was for 55+'s. Ten of us shared a peaceful week where we felt at ease. There was a great sense of community, sharing and kindness within the group - a welcome escape from the frenetic, combative, angry environment of the world today. Highly recommended.

Caroline Gracie

3 months ago, on Google
A retreat at the Barn is a very special experience. The landscape is breathtaking, the food delicious and the cooking, gardening and house care tasks carefully handled so that one need never feel overwhelmed. Accommodation is simple but comfortable. Everything runs to a calm, clear schedule and the co-ordinators handle all challenges - from the practical to the emotional and spiritual - with a miraculously light touch.

clare salter

2 months ago, on Google
Staying at the barn on a 6-night retreat feels like the best, life changing experience I have ever had. My heart feels nourished, my connection with nature enhanced and a feeling of community that goes beyond words. The insight of the Buddhist wisdom taught by beautiful caring people, the meditations have deepened my practice and continue to bring a sense of harmony to my day-to-day life. Barn team thank you so much. Clare

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In the garden of everyday experience, we uncover unexpected treasures. Ingenuous, living from what we are, we move from a self-centred toward a reality-centred life—and open to wonder.
                                - Charlotte Joko Beck in her book Nothing Special:Living Zen

Come join with us to tend our inner and outer gardens - the inner garden of our minds through meditation and silence, and the outer garden of The Barn to prepare the soil and plant the seeds for the growing season.

a teacher-led Buddhist meditation retreat at The Barn at Sharpham, Devon

The basic Barn retreat schedule will be followed, including three periods of formal meditation per day and three dharma talks over the week, with longer gardening sessions and deeper instructions about ecological-based gardening by our gardener Luci Edwards.

We will water seeds of mindfulness, compassion and community throughout the week and there will be longer periods of silence.

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

Retreatants in the organic gardens at The Barn retreat centre

 

We say, "Pulling out the weeds we give nourishment to the plant". We pull the weeds and bury them near the plant to give it nourishment. So even though you have some difficulty in your practice, even though you have some waves while you are sitting, those waves themselves will help you. So you should not be bothered by your mind. You should rather be grateful for the weeds, because eventually they will enrich your practice. If you have some experience of how the weeds in your mind change into mental nourishment, your practice will make remarkable progress. You will feel the progress. You will feel how they change into self-nourishment."

- Shunryu Suzuki 




This retreat is for you if you:


  • Luci Edwards holding box of organic produce from the gardens at The Barn retreat centreenjoy gardening and are physically fit to garden 2.5 hours per day (there are a variety of gardening tasks, many not demanding)
  • want to go deeper into dharma
  • are prepared to live and work in community, preparing meals together and working in the gardens
  • are aged 18 and above

There are periods of silence (including 36 hours of silence) on this retreat.

Our programme of Barn retreats can be viewed and booked here

a teacher-led Buddhist meditation retreat at The Barn at Sharpham, Devon
 

Daily meditations


There are approximately three 40-minute meditation periods 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 and that you can commit to all the scheduled activities during the week.

Gardens at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust, Devon, England, UK

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 down the River Dart Valley at The Barn meditation retreat centre

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

Gardening in the polytunnel to grow food for future retreats

What you need to know


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 that we send out after you've booked.

You can also find out more about staying with us on our Frequently Asked Questions page, including

  • accessibility information
  • why we encourage you to come on your own and not with partners or friends
  • what the difference is between our retreats

See our Barn Covid-19 measures here

 

Food at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

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 accommodate gluten-free and/or vegan dietary needs. However, our kitchen is not gluten, dairy nor nut-free. We do not provide gluten-free bread, but you are welcome to bring your own.

Please make sure you include dietary restrictions and any food allergies 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.

Go barefoot outside at The Barn

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.
 

 

To have time and space in a stunning setting, amidst like minded people with generous and supportive coordinators - what's not to like?

Retreatants relaxing at The Barn

This retreat has a tighter schedule and less free time than our standard 6-night retreats.

Note that we hold silence from the 8pm meditation to 8.40am each day. There will also be 36 hours of silence from 8pm on Tuesday to 8.40am on Thursday.


Sunday

Afternoon
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
8.30pm – The Barn goes into silence until 8.40am the next day
 

Monday to Friday

This is a typical schedule.

Mornings Afternoons
6.10am – Wake up 12.20pm – Meditation (some guided) 
6.30am – Movement and meditation 1.00pm – Lunch
7.10am –  Household tasks 2.00pm – Personal time
7.40am – Breakfast 5.00pm – Teaching 
8.40am – Morning sharing and meeting 6.30pm – Light supper prepared individually or in groups
9.30am – Gardening  8.00pm – Meditation (some guided)
  8.40pm – Barn moves into silence until 8.40am the next day
   

Saturday

As above until 7.40am. Silence ends at breakfast. After that, there is time to clear your room and depart between 9.00am and 10.00am.

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.

view of The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

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

We are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

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

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.

 

Sustainability


We take sustainability seriously.Meditation retreats at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust, Devon, England

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.

£375 - Supported Rate

The Sharpham Trust is committed to ensuring that retreats at The Barn are accessible to all - regardless of income. The Supported Rate is for those unable to pay the Standard or Benefactor Rate.

£450 – Standard Rate

Paying the Standard Rate means you will be contributing towards our running costs, supporting the work of The Barn and helping retreatants of lower incomes to access our retreats.

£525 – Benefactor Rate

If you are able to pay the Benefactor Rate, that means that you'll be supporting others who cannot afford to benefit from a Barn retreat on The Sharpham Estate. Your choice to pay this rate will help us with the running costs of The Barn, enabling us to continue our charitable work connecting people to nature and fostering mindfulness and wellbeing, as well as caring for the land, wildlife and wider estate.




Accommodation & facilities

Rooms at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

All rates include all meals, bedding and towels. All rooms are comfortable single rooms, with a shared bathroom.

All rooms are randomly allocated, unless you have medical needs relating to your room allocation. If you have such a need, let us know on your booking form before the retreat begins. 

Hot drinks are available 24 hours in the kitchen.

The Barn is on the Sharpham Estate, set in a stunning hillside location overlooking the River Dart within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

 

Bursaries


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

 

Luciana Edwards

Luciana Edwards

Luci first took up gardening aged three, when she had a carrot patch on her mum’s allotment. Since then she has gone on to train in permaculture design and has a MSc in Sustainable Agriculture focusing on soil health, which is her number one passion.

Luci has worked on organic and agroecological farms in Portugal, Nepal, Thailand and the UK. She has worked at The Barn as a kitchen gardener since January 2019, and enjoys producing food in close harmony with nature.

Luci also has experience of mindfulness, having undertaken an 8-week mindfulness course, as well as longer retreats at Sharpham, and continues her own practice at home.

Luci loves all things natural, so when she’s not in the garden you can find her exploring wild spaces with her family.


Retreats & Events

All rooms are single occupancy.

How to book easily and securely:

  • online on this page
  • by phoning 01803 732542

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.