Canoeing retreat
Canoe Retreats on the River Dart
Canoe Retreats on the River Dart

Stillness & Flow: a 4-night Canoeing Woodland Retreat


5 Reviews
4 Nights - Seasonal
Single Bell Tent
Short periods
Max. Spaces: 15


Explore the wild beauty of the River Dart whilst developing your own mindful nature connection on this magical 4-night retreat.

Paddling’s repetitive rhythm, and the river’s natural ebb and flow are a rich metaphor for the cultivation of mindful awareness.

"Where the water’s ebb and flow and the rhythmic paddling help cultivate mindful awareness
                - The Guardian, listing us in 10 of the UK's best outdoor wellbing retreats

You’ll be on daily canoe trips that are gentle and contemplative with the emphasis on nature connection (as opposed to canoeing as a sport or adventure activity).  

No previous experience of canoeing is required and you’ll get full support from qualified instructors, ensuring you have a safe and rewarding experience.

These retreats require participants to have a reasonable level of fitness. The canoeing expeditions can be strenuous and one of the days involves a 40 minute walk back to camp after a 4 hour paddle (this is to accommodate the tides). 

We will be using open Canadian canoes with space for two people paddling.

This style of canoe is very stable and durable.

This retreat is for you if:

  • Want to experience mindfulness on the water
  • Love the outdoors and nature or would like to experience nature in a different way (you don't have to be an experienced camper to attend) 
  • Have a reasonable level of fitness 
  • Are new to mindfulness or are looking to sustain and reconnect with your practice in a new way 
  • Are aged 18 and above
What is Mindfulness?

What you'll experience on this retreat:

  • go on daily canoe trips on the River Dart, supported by qualified instructors experienced in both canoeing and mindfulness
  • experience guided meditations, relaxation sessions, supportive group sharing and periods of silence and quiet contemplation, amid breath-taking scenery on the banks of the River Dart
  • have a single-occupancy furnished bell-tent, and your own space in which to rejuvenate, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself, far from the busy-ness of daily life.
  • participate in accessible and engaging nature connection and nature sensing activities - cultivating moment to moment awareness in the outdoors
  • have a single-occupancy furnished bell-tent, and your own space in which to rejuvenate, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself, far from the busy-ness of daily life.
  • participate in accessible and engaging nature connection and nature sensing activities - cultivating moment to moment awareness in the outdoors 
  • be able to explore our tranquil Capability Brown-designed parkland and our Grade 2*-listed gardens designed by Percy Cane
  • enjoy delicious, healthy, home-cooked vegetarian food that regularly receives rave reviews
  • be nurtured within a safe and supported space with time around the fire

Watch our canoeing retreat leaders talk about the benefits of the canoeing retreat.


What you'll 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
View our FAQs


If you're coming to stay with us on retreat, it is important to make a commitment to arrive in time for the first group meeting and to attend all the days.

This ensures you experience the retreat programme from start to finish and helps your group of participants to gel.


All our retreats include periods of silence as a way of deepening into mindful awareness.

If you are new to spending time in silence in the company of other people, it can feel awkward to begin with. But we encourage you to explore the silent periods with a spirit of openness and curiosity - people usually find it to be a useful experience. 

The retreats typically move into silence each evening from 9pm - 9am the following day

Typical Schedule

Day 1: 

Afternoon Evening
3.00pm - 5.00pm – Arrival and unload 6.00pm - Supper and washing up
5.00pm - Welcome meeting, settling in 7.00pm - Basic skills and first paddle
  9.00pm - Camp moves into silence till the following morning, supporting individual mindfulness and reflection

Typical Day:

Due to the tides, there isn’t a typical day on this retreat so the schedule is flexible and will be confirmed on a daily basis once you’re in camp. The retreat includes periods of guided meditation, nature connection and some time for personal reflection.

Final day has a closing meeting from 10.00am, and your departure at 12pm.


Visited for the first time for a canoe retreat. What a set up. Really, a special place, with amazing leaders. Great food too. Worth visiting just for the rewilding project

Nick Smith
July 2023

I'm recently back from a 5 day woodland retreat and all I can say is wow. Wonderful.

Everything about the experience was exceptional. The facilitators were skilful and compassionate. Of note, the experience was more intense than most of the participants (inc me) had anticipated and that is entirely in its favour. This isn't "just" meditating in nature, although there is plenty of that. This is deep work that I haven't even began integrating it yet.

I'll be back for more Sharpham goodness in the future.

Peter Richards
September 2022

There are no adequate words to describe the beauty & magic of this place. The Woodland Retreat has been a salvation and I cannot recommend it highly enough

September 2023
See all Reviews

Sharpham Trust Woodland Retreats

Woodland Retreats

Immerse yourselves in the great outdoors through one of our Woodland retreats. You'll stay in single-occupancy, furnished bell-tents, spend time mindfully in nature and dine on delicious vegetarian and vegan food.

You'll benefit from daily meditation and supportive mindfulness leaders, with ample time to explore the incredible Sharpham Estate. We offer 3-night, 5-night, canoeing and women's woodland retreats.


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Barry Thurgood
Barry Thurgood Read more +
Jess Stein
Jess Stein Read more +
Nigel Ohlson Read more +
Will Evans
Will Evans Read more +


£550 - Supported Rate

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

£595 – Standard Rate

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

£650 – 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 retreat on The Sharpham Estate. Your choice to pay this rate will help us with the running costs of The Sharpham Trust, 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.

You can book easily and securely online below, by phoning 01803 732542 or by [email protected]

Tents & facilities

Click here for more information on our types of bedrooms and facilities.


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 to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here

Thanks to the generosity of the Hollick Family Foundation we are able to offer up to two 75% bursaries for 18-25 years olds experiencing financial hardship on this retreat. To find out more and apply please contact [email protected]

Hollick Family Foundation logo

Available dates

2024 09 Aug

Woodland Retreat: Canoeing - Stillness & Flow (4 nights)

With Nigel Ohlson & Jess Stein
2024 08 Sep

Woodland Retreat: Canoeing - Stillness & Flow (4 nights)

With Nigel Ohlson & Will Evans