Barn Buddhist work retreat

Give back to The Barn - a work retreat


Help us nurture The Barn for the future - and get a less expensive retreat at the same time.

Join us for practising and working in community.

Have you been to at least one Barn retreat in the past, and you would like to join us in painting and home repairs? There will be a variety of work involved, including some physically strenuous work. You will need to be of or above average physical ability in order to participate. If this sounds like you, please come and join our community in work and practice. 

We will keep some of the same Barn schedule of meditating and listening to teachings, but with longer work periods to prepare The Barn for future retreats.

Painting on the Buddhist Barn work retreat

This retreat is for you if:

  • Have been to The Barn on retreat before
  • Have skills in painting, maintenance and home repairs
  • Of average or above average physical ability
  • Are prepared to live and work in community, preparing meals together and working in the gardens
  • are aged 18 and above

What you'll experience on this retreat:

During this retreat you’ll:

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

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


It is important that you are willing to participate in working on the land and in the house as part of your mindfulness practice and that you can commit to all the scheduled activities during the week. This includes two 40-minute formal meditation periods each day.

Note that we hold silence from 8.30pm to 9.00am each day. On the Work Retreat there will be no silent day.


2.00pm to 4.00pm – Your arrival
5.00pm – Welcome talk, introductions and tour
6.30pm – Light evening meal. Then settling in
8.20pm – Meditation
The Barn goes into silence until 9.00am the next day

Monday to Friday:

Mornings Afternoons
6.20am – wake up 1.30pm – lunch
6.50am – meditation 2.30pm – personal practive
7.30am –  household tasks 5.00pm – teaching by visiting teachers
8.00am – breakfast 6.30pm – supper 
9.00am – house meeting  8.20pm – meditation
9.30am – mindful work 9.00pm – silence until 9.00am the next 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.


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!

Linda Emmanuel
July 2023

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.

Mark Wildon
June 2023

The setting is stunning, the Barn people so genuine and supportive, and visiting teachers with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Informal and relaxed. A great balance for me of mindfulness practice and time in nature, with teaching tailored to the group and plenty of free time. The Barn also has a well-stocked library to dive into. If you like an informal retreat where - in the work periods - you will be helping to do some of the housekeeping and gardening tasks which help keep this place running, you'll enjoy it.

Clara Wood
June 2023
See all Reviews

The Barn Retreat Exterior

The Barn Retreat Centre

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


£100 - Supported rate

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

£150 - 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.

£200 - 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.

Available dates

2023 01 Oct

Giving Back to The Barn: A Work Retreat - 6 nights

2024 25 Feb

Giving Back to The Barn: A Work Retreat - 6 nights