Chair of Trustees
Daniel was born in Bath. He has had a 25-year business career as joint founder, and (for 15 years) chair of a large regional food retailer. He was also a director of a commercial property development company for 12 years, retiring from business in 2004. He has worked for The Samaritans for four years and has worked for a national bereavement charity for several years, supporting people through their grief.
Daniel is a father-of-three and his interests include poetry and the natural world.
After working in The City and on Wall Street in the 1980s and for the Commission of the EU in Brussels in the 1990s, William Lana co-founded and is the CEO of the organic textile company Greenfibres. He sits on a number of the Boards of organisations aimed at finding environmental and social solutions to the challenges and opportunities we currently face.
He has degrees from the University of Kent and the London School of Economics, lives in Totnes, has two children, and is a practising artist.
Born in London and educated in the Midlands, Martin spent 20 years living in East London and working as a solicitor in The City, for the last 10 years as a partner in a major law firm. Moving to Devon in 2002 he now runs a smallholding near Totnes with his partner and when not occupied by this, spends his time walking, climbing and travelling with his family.
Charlotte is a chartered landscape architect who brings 30 years' experience in landscape design and environmental art to the Sharpham board of Trustees.
She has worked as a practising landscape architect in Bristol, Bath, Hong Kong and Devon. She and her husband have had their own practice in South Devon since 1996.
Charlotte's work has included designing new public and private spaces in historic rural and urban landscapes, working with communities to create new village spaces, new town gardens and squares and designing landscape for patients and vulnerable women at a refuge.
She was a trustee of the Centre of Contemporary Art in the Natural World for over 10 years until it became a CIC and has continued as an adviser since then. She wants to encourage the public to engage with the natural world, whether though art, play, science or having fun.
Deputy Chair of Trustees
Julie previously worked at Schumacher College on the Dartington Estate, as Senior Lecturer in New Economics where she co-designed and led courses in economics for transition, right livelihood, gross national happiness and dialogues east and west.
She is many things – an ecological economist, a practising meditator, an academic, an educator and a PhD student, an organisational consultant on a national and global scale, a holistic health practitioner and a lover of the sea and nature.
She worked in sustainable development for more than 20 years in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, gradually altering her view of ‘development’ to a belief that there is much we can learn from the wisdom of other cultures about sustainable livelihoods and restoring healthy relationship between human society and nature.
She has taught ecological economics and international development at the Universities of London and Sussex,
Julie has applied systems thinking, complexity science and a holistic view to different aspects of sustainability – including sustainable design, organizational change and environmental policy.
More recently, at Dartington’s Schumacher College, she co-created the Schumacher Worldwide programme supporting the emergence of an international community of practitioners and programmes inspired by the economist EF Schumacher.
Jane Sillis has worked in the arts since the 1980s and has a particular knowledge of contemporary visual art, education and working with adults and young people new to the arts. Since 2005 Jane has been Director of Engage. Before working with Engage Jane was an arts consultant.
Ecologist, teacher, writer
I am a Bertha Fellow, curating an independent inquiry exploring the art and power in retreat.
Through transformative and transgressive learning, I’m completely riveted about what it means to be human in this century. Inseparable from nature, place and children, the work has led me into inter-generational stories in a messily indigenous homebrew of context, dialogue, ecology in place, arts, cultures, mythology and consciousness.
Being of earth, and South Africa and England specifically, holds tensions and contradictions that challenge every platitude, derivative and regurgitation. It is these edges that beckon in finding our ancient mythic ground. In quiet, often unseen, places lurks wisps of wisdom and tendrils of depth, time and space.
I’m interested in that.
Julian has led The Trust since 2014 during which the charity has greatly expanded it's activities.
Originally a teacher he worked for two years with Voluntary Service Overseas in Pakistan helping to set up a teacher training programme and various development projects. On returning to Devon he continued his work in the charity sector working for a local countryside trust, setting up an educational programme, a residential centre, and an organic farm. He was involved in the early stages of Transition Towns in Totnes and has built on these experiences at Sharpham.
"I came to Sharpham because I wanted to integrate conservation work with mental health and the spirituality side that was often missing when environmental issues are discussed. I wanted to foster a more holistic approach and make Sharpham a beacon for new approaches."
Julian loves canoeing on the River Dart which meanders past the Estate and he is Chair of the Dart Estuary Forum.
“Sharpham is a special place that people fall in love with and I am privileged to have a brilliant staff team who work hard to create the Sharpham experience, which is one of caring and nurturing the individual and our environment."
"The positive feedback and stories people share with us make it all worthwhile.”
Ben oversees the Sharpham programme of retreats and courses across the estate.
Says Ben: "We live in a time of disconnection socially, environmentally and spiritually. Our programmes support people to reconnect through mindfulness and spending time with nature."
"It’s a privilege and an inspiration to work in an organisation that endeavours to support people to live a more compassionate and awake life."
HR & Admin Manager
Amy's is the voice you'll hear when you ring the Trust's general number.
She makes sure the Trust runs efficiently, thanks to her many years in hospitality and hotels, where she was a general manager.
Now she's happy to have a more peaceful day-job. "I want to make a difference and work as part of a team, and I've found it," she said. "It's beautiful here and everyone's so friendly."
Amy also administers Sharpham Meadow Natural Burial Ground.
Sara makes sure that Sharpham's finances are all in order. When she's not doing the numbers, she's playing tennis and walking her dog!
She likes Sharpham's landscape. "It's such a beautiful location, what's not to like?!" she says.
Marketing & Communications Officer
Katie helps to make sure this website looks and sounds good, writes and sends our newsletter, talks to the media and sings better than Julian.
What inspires her about Sharpham? The birdsong and the food. Especially when the staff get leftovers.
Click here to find out how to get in touch with her, and other parts of the The Sharpham Trust.
Margot helps people book onto the events, retreats and courses that we run. She’s also the contact for hiring our venue and for booking at our Point Field campsite (open seasonally).
"Driving onto the estate every day is such a blessing” says Margot. “Sharpham is a beautiful place to work and we have the best team.”
Education & Events Coordinator
Lisa Carnell entices nature lovers and local schoolchildren to visit the Estate and learn about its rich wildlife and habitats.
"I want to encourage people to open their eyes to what is around them, because it's when you look closely that you discover more," she says.
"The beauty and exquisite landscape here is also so rich in natural wildlife because there's such a variety of habitats on the Sharpham Estate - and that's what makes my heart sing".
Verity is our book-keeper, working part-time at Sharpham.
She loves nature and birds and enjoys coming to work here because of the amazing surroundings.
She says: "I just love the peacefulness and the work that we do - I wish everywhere was like this!"
Barn Retreat Manager
Tasha was interested in spiritual practice from a young age and did her first Buddhist meditation retreat at the age of 18. She lived in Nepal, spending time with Tibetan Buddhists, and later moved to a dharma centre in France, deepening her experience and practice of Buddhism.
She has lived in various intentional communities in Canada, the USA, and the UK, and has worked in the realm of social services and social justice for the past decade, including community-building while working with refugees, immigrants, and women in poverty.
Tasha's inspired in her role by how The Barn works its magic on people. "In one of the early retreats I witnessed at The Barn, on the second day, a retreatant said that it was the most important thing they'd ever done in his life. He repeated it on the last day. The Barn touches people like that, myself included."
She lives in Totnes with her partner and her children.
Assistant Barn Manager
Nina began practising mindfulness in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, attending retreat in Northern India and Nepal and later drawing inspiration from the Insight Meditation tradition and the teachings of Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh.
A former residential coordinator at Sharpham's Barn Retreat, Nina has been facilitating meditations, ceremony and retreats for the past five years. Her practice is grounded in a connection to the land and in contacting moments of ordinary beauty and grace in the every day.
She is interested in exploring how contemplative practices can open up our experience of the world and is passionate about creating opportunities for others to do the same.
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.
Coach House Cook
Wendy is responsible for the delicious vegan and vegetarian food served at The Coach House!
Frank started meditating 11 years ago, finding a foundation for his twin passions, nature connection and contemplative inquiry, in the Buddhist Thai Forest tradition. He has been training as a VortexHealing Practitioner for 5 years, offering energy healing treatments as a support for awakening.
Along the way he has delved deeply into the rich teachings of the world's wisdom traditions, weaving them together with indigenous teachings, energy healing, intuitive movement and modern ecotherapeutic approaches to create a wealth of resources and practices to support his desire to live wholeheartedly and authentically.
He has grounded his studies through environmental activism at tree protest sites, caring for clients' needs as a full-time live-in carer, and long-term volunteering in ecovillages, temples and monasteries from a range of different spiritual faiths.
About the Coach House, he says "I am continually amazed by what we offer here: each group lands in this rich landscape, held by each other and the programme, and together we co-create an experience that invariably leads to a deepening sense of connection, nourishment and openness both to life's challenges and its joys. I feel very blessed to be part of offering these retreats."
Rachel Cottam GP
Rachel is a doctor who also practices mindfulness. She is dividing her time between supporting retreatants at The Coach House and working in her GP practice in Brighton.
She decided to volunteer at Sharpham after trying various retreats and online courses.
Nicky is a qualified counsellor who has practised mindfulness and meditation for the last 20 years.
Said Nicky: "I really wanted to live my practice...being able to practise here in this environment and being out in nature are all of the things that I really love."
Janey runs the House, looking after the building and the people within it.
She's impressed by The Sharpham Trust's ethos. "I really believe Sharpham is living its mission," she said. "The Estate is living up to what it says it wants to achieve and I want a role in that".
Sharpham House Cook
Antony loves working with the fresh ingredients grown in our Walled Garden to create the vegetarian and vegan food that nourishes our retreatants.
“That's the best thing: being able to create some incredible stuff with something picked that morning and serve it the same day,” says Antony.
When he's not making delicious meals - he previously worked at Riverford Field Kitchen - he's exploring the trees here on the Sharpham Estate.
Frances and Bryony are in charge of keeping our Grade II* gardens looking wonderful all-year-round, and ensuring that our Walled Garden feeds our participants properly with organic veg.
Bryony has just returned from maternity leave and co-manages the gardens with Frances Tophill.
Amanda helps to make sure Sharpham House is clean, comfy and tidy for us and our visitors - and she's great at it too.
"It's the only place I've ever worked where I leave feeling calmer than when I arrived," she says. "It's such a lovely place to work".
Sarah is part of the vital housekeeping team that looks after Sharpham House.
She says: "It's genuinely beautiful and tranquil here. Every morning when I drive onto the Estate I feel blessed that this is where I come and that's a rare thing."
Rachel loves meeting the retreatants when she's looking after Sharpham House.
"It's enjoyable to get to know people from all different walks of life while I'm here," she says.
Rachel completed an 8-week course in mindfulness a decade before she ended up working here. "I felt then that Sharpham was a special place that I felt an affinity with and I hoped one day I'd work at. Now here I am and it has lived up to my expectations."
Georgie is part of the vital housekeeping team that looks after Sharpham House.
Lindsay Alderton has made good on a promise to serve at Sharpham as a Volunteer Barn Coordinator.
In 2019 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent gruelling chemotherapy and surgery. Afterwards, she was given a bursary to attend a Sharpham Trust 9-week course in Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living.
"Having that anchor of regular community and practice and clarity was really important and a lifesaver," she said. "I made a promise at the end of it, when I was well enough, that I would come back and offer service".
Now she's supporting Barn retreatants in her role as a Volunteer Coordinator.
Luci first took up gardening aged three, when she had a carrot patch on her mum’s allotment. Since then she has gone on to train in permaculture design and has a MSc in Sustainable Agriculture focusing on soil health, which is her number one passion.
Luci has worked on organic and agroecological farms in Portugal, Nepal, Thailand and the UK. She has worked at The Barn as a kitchen gardener since January 2019, and enjoys producing food in close harmony with nature.
Luci also has experience of mindfulness, having undertaken an 8-week mindfulness course, as well as longer retreats at Sharpham, and continues her own practice at home.
Luci loves all things natural, so when she’s not in the garden you can find her exploring wild spaces with her family.
Clare McCarthy is a Barn Coordinator and former nurse and midwife, bringing her caring, counselling experience to the team.
Ben, 36, has been interested in philosophy and community for a long time and has experience living and working at retreat centres on Holy Isle and at Plum Village in France.
"It's probably one of the main reasons I was attracted to The Barn role, he said. "It's really quite similar to what they offer at Plum Village in terms of the nature connection, a big emphasis on community and, of course, the mindfulness"
Ben worked on the Happy Farm within Plum Village and therefore he'll be well suited to working and practising in The Barn's gardens. When he's not writing, drawing and crafting, that is.
Ben plays guitar, writes songs and has written and performed a show at the Edinburgh Free Fringe.
The show was a children's story about a girl living on a remote island visited by nature spirits who lead her towards greater wisdom.
He self-published and illustrated a book version of the story too, enjoys painting and drawing and has continued playing his guitar and songwriting since arriving at The Barn.
"My creativity comes out more when I'm living in community," he said. "My wellbeing and practice is strengthened by being in community. I get a lot back from volunteering and giving."