The Barn: a silent, 5-night retreat

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Experience quiet and stillness for an extended time within supportive community in a beautiful, nurturing setting.

In an increasingly fast-paced world, with many competing demands for our time and attention, this silent retreat offers a precious opportunity for spaciousness and stillness.

See The Barn's Covid-19 measures here

You’ll be in a safe and supportive setting, allowing you to deepen into mindfulness practice and your experience of silence, in the tranquil setting of the Barn Retreat on Sharpham Estate.

This 5-night retreat is a chance to turn inward and to let go of the daily struggles that can so easily get in the way of the simplicity, freedom and joy in each present moment.

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

The view from The Barn's kitchen window, with a vase of flowers

Previous retreat and meditation experience

This retreat is for people who already have prior experience of being on a retreat or of mindfulness meditation. If you are new to mindfulness and retreats, you might like to consider joining our Mindfulness for Beginners retreats.

This retreat is for you if you are:

  • in need of rest and replenishment
  • interested in deepening or reconnecting with your practice in a silent setting
  • inspired by spending time reconnecting with nature
  • have prior meditation and retreat experience
  • 18 years or above

How much silence?

The retreat is not in total silence the whole time. Each morning there is the chance to connect with a smaller home group to share your experiences. There will also be some discussion as part of mindfulness and Buddhist teaching and enquiry sessions.

Other than these, the rest of the retreat will be in silence, including meal times and group activities, such as silent walking and nature connection.

A volunteer uses a singing bowl for meditation

What you’ll experience on this retreat

During this retreat you’ll:

  • practice silence to develop a strong container for deepening meditation practice
  • explore embodiment, with simple movement and exercises
  • have the chance to take mindfulness into the outdoors through gardening and walking
  • be living in community with like-minded people, bringing meditation to everyday experiences and tasks
  • enjoy delicious, healthy, home-cooked vegetarian food that regularly receives rave reviews

View from The Barn retreat centre at The Sharpham Trust

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


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:

  • Comfy clothes for meditation, movement and relaxation
  • Slippers
  • A journal or notepad if you want to write or draw during your time here
  • Walking boots – we have wonderful footpaths and routes to explore
  • Work clothes for gardening, including wet weather options

Delicious vegetarian and vegan food at The Barn meditation retreat centre at The Sharpham Trust

Our food & your dietary needs

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

In line with sustainable practices across the Estate, our cooks produce seasonal, vegetarian food for our guests. We source food whenever possible from our kitchen garden and support local food suppliers.

Food allergies & intolerances
Please tell us well in advance of your stay of any food allergies or intolerances you may have.
You can tell us this on the Booking Form via a link we send you in your confirmation email.


Your physical and mental health

This retreat is suitable for you if you have meditation and retreat experience.

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.

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.

A gardener in the Barn's gardens

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.

What's the difference between retreats at The Barn and in Sharpham House?

Costs are kept lower at The Barn because gardening, cooking and household tasks are shared in community by volunteer coordinators and retreatants.  

Retreats at Sharpham House are fully catered and staff. Also, Sharpham House is a large Grade 1-listed building with far higher overheads.

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


The weekly schedule provides opportunities for both individual reflection and group meditation.

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. This includes three 40 minute formal meditation periods each day.


2.30pm - 4.30pm – arrival
5.00pm - Welcome
6.30pm – Supper & personal time
8.00pm – Meditation
8.40pm – Personal time

Monday to Wednesday

Mornings Afternoons
6.20am – Wake up bell 12.20pm – Meditation
6.45am – Movement (optional) 1.00pm – Lunch
7.00am – Meditation 2.30pm – Personal time
7.30am – Tasks 5.00pm – Teaching & enquiry

8.00am – Breakfast & personal time

6.30pm – Supper & personal time
9.30am – Morning meeting 8.00pm – Meditation
10.30am - Gardening 8.40pm – Personal time


Mornings Afternoons
6.20am – Wake up bell 12.20pm – Meditation
6.45am – Movement (optional) 1.00pm – Lunch
7.00am – Meditation 2.30pm – Personal time
7.30am – Tasks 5.00pm – Closing circle

8.00am – Breakfast & personal time

6.30pm – Supper & personal time
10.30am - Gardening 8.00pm – Meditation
  8.40pm – Personal time


6.20am – Wake up bell
6.45am – Movement (optional)
7.00am – Meditation
7.30am – Tasks
8.00am – Breakfast, pack up, departure


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

Please note that The Barn Retreat is in a different location to Sharpham House. Make sure to follow the directions to The Barn Retreat, rather than Sharpham House.

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

view of 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


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.

£330 - Supported Rate

This is for those unable to pay the Standard Rate.


£395 – Standard Rate

Paying the Standard Rate means you will be supporting those who are only able to afford the Supported Rate. The Sharpham Trust is committed to ensuring that retreats at The Barn are accessible to all - regardless of income.

You will also be contributing towards our running costs by choosing this rate.


£495 – Sponsor Rate

For those that can afford it, we have the Sponsor Rate.

If you are able to pay the Sponsor Rate, that means that you'll be supporting others who cannot afford this rate, helping them 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 it to continue and thrive as a retreat centre.


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.


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

Patti Summerville - Retreat and Course Leader

Patti Summerville - Retreat and Course 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 at Sharpham. Patti has trained to be a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher with Exeter University and an Integral Hatha Yoga Teacher in 2009 at the Sri Swami Satchidananda Ashram. 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.

Nina Jankelson

Nina Jankelson

Nina began practising mindfulness in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, attending retreat in Northern India and Nepal and later drawing inspiration from the Insight Meditation tradition and the teachings of Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

A former residential coordinator at Sharpham's Barn Retreat, Nina has been facilitating meditations, ceremony and retreats for the past five years. Her practice is grounded in a connection to the land and in contacting moments of ordinary beauty and grace in the every day.

She is interested in exploring how contemplative practices can open up our experience of the world and is passionate about creating opportunities for others to do the same. 

Gavin Milne

Gavin Milne

Gavin has been practising the Dharma since 2004, and teaching at Gaia House Meditation Centre since 2015. He is particularly interested in the role Dharma teachings and practices can have in responding to our unfolding ecological situation in a transformative way, and turning towards and awakening to the interdependent nature of our collective crisis. 

He originally trained as an aerodynamics design engineer, studied sustainable development, and has been influenced by the holistic perspectives of Charles Eisenstein and Ajahn Sucitto.

Barn Coordinator

Barn Coordinator

A Barn Coordinator will be co-leading this retreat, providing support and holding the space for your experience with us.

Find out more about the team at The Barn on this page

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.