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The Four Elements

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Explore earth, water, fire and wind as a way to heal feelings of separation between ourselves and our environment on this nature-connection retreat.

Meditators sit amid the reeds at Sharpham

The days will include guided reflections, meditation, being in nature, and group inquiry, to encourage appreciative awareness of our place in the natural world.

This contemplation was recommended by the Buddha as a way to deepen understanding of the interconnected and changing nature of ourselves and the world.

It can also help to resource us in the face of the particular ecological challenges of the times we live in.

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

This retreat is for you if you:

  • are prepared to live and work in community, preparing meals together and working in the gardens
  • want to experience a retreat in the Buddhist tradition
  • are aged 18 and over

There will be a maximum of 11 participants on this retreat.

There are periods of silence on each of our retreats.

Our programme of retreats at The Barn can be viewed and booked here

People meditating in a circle at The Barn

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 participant cleans a freshly-pulled carrot

What you’ll experience on this retreat


  • guided meditations and periods of silence and quiet contemplation
  • being in community with like-minded people, sharing experiences and tasks, including the making of meals and taking care of the house
  • a single-occupancy room and your own space in which to rejuvenate, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself
  • access to 24-hour hot teas, coffee & infusions in the kitchen
  • the chance 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

Live in community at The Barn

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

  • 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

Buddhist meditation retreat at The Barn at Sharpham, Devon, UK

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.
 

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.

 

View from The Barn

 

 

Note that we hold silence from 8.30pm to 9.00am each day, and all day Wednesday.


Sunday

Afternoon
2.00pm to 4.00pm – Your arrival
4.30pm – Welcome talk, introductions and tour
5.30pm – Guided meditation
6.30pm – Supper. Then settling in
8.30pm – The Barn goes into silence until 9.00am the next day
 


Monday to Friday:

This is a typical schedule.

Mornings Afternoons
6.20am – Wake up 12.20pm – Meditation (some guided) 
6.50am – Movement and meditation 1.00pm – Lunch
7.30am –  Household tasks 2.00pm – Personal time
8.00am – Breakfast 4.30pm – Teaching 
9.00am – Morning sharing and meeting 6.00pm – Supper prepared individually or in groups
 10.00am – Gardening  7.50pm – Meditation (some guided)
  8.30pm – Barn moves into silence until 9.00am the next day
   


Saturday:  

As above until 8.00am. Silence ends at breakfast. After that, there is time to clear your room and depart between 9.00am and 11.00am.

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

£350 - 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.

£425 – 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.

£495 – 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.


Room types

Rooms 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.


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

 

Jenny Wilks

Jenny Wilks

Jenny Wilks has practised in various Buddhist traditions for over 30 years, focusing on Insight Meditation. She has an MA in Indian religions and has studied Pali, the language of the ancient Buddhist texts.

She has taught regularly at the Barn since 2004 and at Gaia House since 2008. 

Jenny worked for many years in the NHS as a clinical psychologist.

She has taught mindfulness-based approaches to staff and patients in healthcare settings and worked as a mindfulness supervisor and trainer at Exeter University. 

In recent years her practice has included exploration of deep ecology and nature-based approaches to psychosocial and spiritual well-being.


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.