This retreat connects mindfulness and The Dharma with the natural world – at a time when the world urgently needs our care.
Elders within indigenous societies and contemplative traditions have long sought out the refuge of the wider natural world. These sages and elders of old deeply understood that the nature of their own minds was not separate from mountains and rivers and the great wide Earth.
We humans have become severed from a sensuous and intimate relationship with the wider natural world and our more-than-human relatives, with consequences for our own lives and those of the wider Earth community.
In this retreat, we explore the gifts of nature-based practice and contemplative practice, approaching our inner landscapes, deepening our intimacy with the natural world and experiencing how doing both deepens presence with life.
Meditation instruction will be offered around the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, alongside a range of nature-based practices drawing on an eco-centric model of human development that complement these foundations. Group inquiry and individual interviews will also be offered.
This retreat is offered as an invitation to resource ourselves, to deepen our gratitude for being alive on this Earth as well as to nourish and inspire us as we navigate our way into an uncertain future. This work is at heart about remembering what we most deeply belong to and offering our lives to that.
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:
The weekly schedule provides opportunities for both individual reflection and group meditation.
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.
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.
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 positive experience.
Note that we hold silence overnight from 8.40pm to 9.15am in the morning, and all day Wednesday.
Retreats with residential teachers have a tighter schedule and have less free time than our standard 6-night retreats.
|2.00pm to 4.00pm – Your arrival|
|5.00pm – Welcome Meeting|
|6.30pm – Light evening meal. Then settling in|
|8.00pm – Meditation, followed by silence until 9.15am the next day|
|6.20am – Wake up||12.20pm – Guided or silent meditation|
|6.45am – Movement & meditation||1.00pm – Lunch|
|7.30am – Household tasks||2.00pm – Personal time|
|8.00am – Breakfast||5.00pm – Teaching (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday)|
|9.15am – Silence ends, morning meeting & check-in (except Wednesday)||6.30pm – Light supper|
|10.30am – Mindful gardening||8.00pm – Guided or silent meditation followed by silence until 9.15am the following day|
As above until 8.00am. Silence ends at breakfast. Then it's time to clear your room and depart between 9.00am and 10.00am.
Truly a special place. The location and surroundings are both outstandingly beautiful. The daily routine of the retreat is a gentle combination of movement, gardening, good meals, easy chores, opportunities for a variety of group meditation practices, and time for personal practice. All this would have been more than delightful enough. However, in addition, the coordinators create the conditions for all in a retreat group to "hold space" for and with each other. This was surprising to me, and very impressive. Keep going. What you're doing is great!
The Barn is a very special place, made special most of all by the tireless voluntary work of the Barn coordinators. This is a review of the typical 6 night retreat, with the usual structure: up at 6.40am for mindful movement (or standing and staring in my case) and then meditation; further 40 minute meditations, sometimes metta or walking at 12.20pm and 8pm. There is quite a lot of structure to the day, maybe a bit too much for my taste, but still the afternoons and evenings are mostly free; if one really wanted to rest instead of attending a session, I felt this would be respected, or even encouraged. The visiting dhamma teachers were excellent, as usual, and gave some excellent answers (with a Buddhist perspective, but far from dogmatically doctrine) to wide ranging questions from the retreatants. It seems slightly absurd to give the Barn a star rating: would anyone seriously claim they were a 'five-star Buddhist'? But if I have to, then five stars is the only possible rating and thoroughly deserved.
Beautiful and peaceful place where you can just slow down. Every sound, smell and touch received in total bliss. The Barn coordinates a comfortable, nurturing and informative stay for all. It’s a really special and I will definitely return!
Our popular meditation retreat venue in the Buddhist tradition is where up to 11 people join together living in community for weekly retreats, including a variety of themed retreats - scroll on to see them all.
You'll be staying within a friendly atmosphere of fellowship, sitting together in daily meditations and mindfully tending our organic vegetable gardens.
You'll have your own single room, you'll get to eat produce from what's grown on the land here and you'll also get time to explore the wonder of the beautiful and contemplation-inspiring Sharpham Estate.Get Directions View Venue
Participants at The Barn can select which rate they pay according to need:
Supported Rate £375
The Sharpham Trust is committed to ensuring that retreats at The Barn are accessible to all - regardless of income. The Trust therefore offers a heavily subsidised Supported Rate for those unable to pay the Standard or Benefactor Rate.
Standard Rate £450
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.
Benefactor Rate £525
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.
Dana is the Pali word for generosity or donation. The volunteer coordinators are receiving only a small payment for expenses whilst living at The Barn and are generously giving their energy and understanding to us all. If you are able donations are welcome.
There will be a maximum of 11 participants on this retreat.
All rooms are single occupancy, giving you your own space in which to relax.
Book easily and securely online or by phoning 01803 732542
Please click here to see our booking and cancellations policy
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.
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