The Coach House: 4-night mindfulness & nature retreat for GPs
A retreat for GPs offering nature connection and mindfulness practices as an act of self-care in these challenging times.
If there’s an instruction manual for being human, then Western science and medicine have supplied one part of it, and the contemplative traditions have supplied another, the part that has to do with discovering and cultivating our deep interior resources
- Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor of medicine, mindfulness teacher and creator of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme
The Coach House is offering GPs a safe space to come together to share the retreat experience and nurture our capacity for joy, compassion and connection.
You'll be cared for full-board, with plenty of time for rest, reflection and nature connection in the very special location of the Sharpham Estate.
Fantastic experience and game-changer for seeing the world and yourself in a different perspective. Will come back again!
- Coach House retreatant giving us a 5-star Google Review
This eco-retreat is for you if you want to
- Explore the benefits of nature-based mindfulness and mindfulness meditation
- Spend time in our wonderful heritage gardens
- Rest, rejuvenate and deepen your connection with nature and wildlife
- Develop a wider ecological awareness and understanding of your place in the world as part of, rather than separate from, nature
What you’ll experience on this nature & eco retreat
- three daily 30-minute meditations including guided meditation, sitting meditation, walking and nature-based meditation
- periods of silence and quiet contemplation, including spending time in nature on the wider estate
- four mornings learning about and helping in our ornamental and kitchen gardens
- a chance to learn about & witness our efforts to re-wild the Sharpham Estate
- full-board accommodation in a Grade II-listed Georgian Coach House set within Capability Brownian parkland, with Grade 2*-listed gardens designed by Percy Cane in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to nature, amid breath-taking scenery on the banks of the River Dart
- a single-occupancy room and your own space, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself, far from the busy-ness of daily life.
- a safe and supportive community with like-minded people, sharing experiences and daily tasks including working in the kitchen gardens and on the wider Estate
- delicious, healthy, home-cooked vegetarian & vegan food that regularly receives rave reviews
People often ask me what one thing I would recommend to restore relationship between land and people. My answer is almost always, 'Plant a garden.' It’s good for the health of the earth and it’s good for the health of people.
- Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass, available here in our bookstore
Getting your hands in the earth
Coach House mindfulness, nature and eco retreats feature morning sessions helping in our ornamental and Walled Garden in the grounds of Sharpham House, alongside our experienced garden staff Frances and Chloe.
We manage the gardens organically and the produce we grow supplies the kitchens in Sharpham House and the Coach House.
There are a mixture of tasks on our nature-mindfulness and eco-retreats, depending on the season. We invite you to bring your awareness to the land, plants and the nature surrounding you at Sharpham.
You don't need to know anything about gardening to participate - our team will support and assist you.
It is important that you are willing to participate in doing this as part of your mindfulness practice (we can find suitable tasks for people with health difficulties – let us know in advance) and that you try to commit to all the scheduled activities during the week.
NB: If you're less able to do gardening, a Sharpham House retreat may be more suitable
Facilities in The Coach House
The Grade II-listed Coach House has been sympathetically converted to create accommodation in four wings surrounding a central courtyard.
The Coach House has 18 bedrooms, 12 of which are en-suite. The 6 others share 3 bathrooms, one for each pair of rooms.
We have an accessible ground-floor bedroom with en-suite bathroom in the Western Wing of The Coach House. Please contact us to book this.
The Eastern Wing features a lounge, library, kitchen and has a contemporary timber-frame extension which serves as a dining room and meditation/meeting space.
The extension has large French doors which open out on to a patio and garden with direct access out on to the south-facing lawns.
Not all of the gardens or the estate have disabled access, so do contact us to discuss your needs and what is possible.
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 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
- accessiblity 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 Coach House Covid-19 measures here
Our food & your dietary needs
We have a fully stocked, mostly organic and vegetarian kitchen. The main meal is at lunch time and is prepared by our Cook supported by retreatants. We try to use produce from our gardens as much as possible which retreatants help grow.
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.
Your physical and mental health
This retreat is suitable for you if you are new to mindfulness, 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
We have an accessible en-suite bedroom in the Coach House that you can learn about here
I have been shown that I can be strong and I do have inner power if I get back to nature
- Sharpham Trust retreatant
Typical retreat schedule
Day 1: Arrive between 3 - 5pm for Welcome Meeting at 5pm and settling in
|6.00am - wake up||12.30pm - meditation|
|6.30am – morning movement/meditation||1.00pm - lunch|
|7.30am - household tasks||2.00pm – free time or group walk|
|8.00am – breakfast||4.30pm - personal time|
|9.00am – home groups (silence ends)||6.30pm – supper|
|10.00am - gardening||7.30pm - meditation|
|9.00pm – personal time (Coach House moves into silence until 9.00am the next day)|
Final day: depart by 11am
The retreat will move into silence each evening from 9pm – 9am, and till 5pm on day 4.
What an amazing experience, the venue is first class, the facilitators were gold star, and the food was superb and tasty
I have just completed a four day gardening retreat at The Coach House and it was just what I needed to reset myself before the madness of December arrives. The staff were welcoming, warm, knowledgeable and fun. The accommodation was extremely comfortable and the setting gorgeous. The food provided for us each day was delicious and good for us too! All in all, I feel deeply relaxed, nurtured and my only dilemma is when to book my next retreat. Thank you to everyone at Sharpham for providing this opportunity.
I recently completed the 4-night retreat at The Coach House and I have completely fallen for this very special place. The grounds are wonderful, especially the ancient yew tree, and the meditation programme was wonderful. Delicious food and great company, I’ll certainly be back.
Absolutely beautiful setting. Very skilled facilitators. Wonderful food. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that the retreat at The Coach House totally exceeded any expectations for myself and others. So incredible to experience meaningful human connection again and embrace mindfulness.
Wonderful retreat at the Coach House - mindfulness in nature. Very nourishing and I feel rejuvenated
Set in beautiful surroundings, Sharpham's Coach House is a welcoming and relaxing environment in which to take a break from the normal pressures of daily life. The staff are attentive and supportive, the food is delicious and the meditation sessions and time away from screens gave me greater perspective. The week as a whole encouraged me to slow down and to take time to appreciate simple pleasures more. I will definitely return to Sharpham having discovered this haven. Highly recommended.
I have been to Sharpham House three times now. The last one was the first of new coach House retreats. It didn't disappoint. Similar in style to the main house but felt more intimate and smaller. Many thanks to Wendy for providing the delicious vegan meals and to the co-ordinators for support and kindness. I shall return again one day soon.
This retreat takes place in The Coach House, a historic Grade II-listed building behind Sharpham House set in a Capability Brownian landscape with stunning views over the steeply-wooded River Dart.
Click here for our How to Find Us page on this website.
Click here to view, print or download directions and a map to The Coach House
Click here view and download walking/cycling directions to The Coach House
If you have a medical condition that requires you to have an en-suite room, please contact our Programme Administrator on the number below as these rooms are limited and are bookable on a first-come first-served basis.
Just to let you know, we have poor mobile phone coverage – which we see as a virtue. While there is wi-fi in The Coach House, we encourage you to disconnect from ‘the network’ so you can fully retreat when you’re here.
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.
All of the hot water and heating in The Coach House is produced by a state-of-the-art biomass woodchip boiler and we have 2 large photo-voltaic solar panel arrays on barn rooftops feeding into Sharpham energy.
Our gardens are managed organically and we only use bio-degradable cleaning products.
The Sharpham Trust is committed to ensuring that nature & eco retreats at The Coach House are accessible to all - regardless if income.
All rooms are comfortable single rooms, with either an ensuite or a shared bathroom. All meals, bedding and towels are included. 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 which will be sent to you once you have booked.
Supported Rate: £350 up to April 2023 then £395 from May 2023
The Supported Rate is for those unable to pay the Standard or Benefactor Rate
Standard Rate: £425 up to April 2023 then £450 from May 2023
Paying the Standard Rate means you will be contributing towards our running costs, supporting the work of The Coach House and helping retreatants of lower incomes to access our retreats.
Benefactor Rate: £495
If you are able to pay the Benefactor Rate, you'll be supporting others who cannot afford to benefit from a Coach House retreat on The Sharpham Estate. Your choice to pay this rate will help us with the running costs of The Coach House, 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.
Limited 50% bursaries offering reduced-price retreats are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Please contact the Programme Administrator at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.
Our bursary fund relies on donations. If you’d like to help another person to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here
Patti Summerville - Coach House Manager
Patti began a personal meditation practice in 1996 after a retreat at the Tushita Institute, Dharamsala, India. Over the years her practice has been influenced by Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist traditions.
In 2013 she was a co-ordinator at The Barn Retreat Centre, an Insight Mindfulness Meditation Retreat centre at Sharpham. Patti trained to be a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher with Exeter University in 2014 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 everyday, private and professional life as an occupational therapist, Sharpham Trust retreat leader and now manager of The Coach House
She is passionate about supporting others on their journey towards more contented, peaceful and compassionate lives.
Volunteer Coordinator: Rachel Cottam
Rachel Cottam is a practising meditator and doctor.
She originally came to Sharpham as a retreatant but is now balancing her role as a GP in Brighton with helping to support retreatants at The Coach House.
After working through Sharpham's guided meditations, and then doing an online course in mindfulness, Rachel realised that she wanted to develop a meditation and mindful practice and train to teach too.
How to book easily and securely:
- online on this page
- by phoning 01803 731803
Ring us or email us on [email protected] if you've got any questions.
Please click here to see our booking and cancellations policy.
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.