Sharpham House: Sustaining Ourselves – Breaking free from burn-out (4 nights)

  • The Sharpham Trust The Sharpham Trust
  • Sharpham House Sharpham Estate Ashprington Totnes Devon TQ9 7UT
  • Nov 8 - 12, 2018 (5 days)
  • Sharpham House - Standard Single - £375.00 Sharpham House - Premium Single - £425.00 Sharpham House - Heritage Single - £450.00 Claire Milne - Accessible single room - £375.00

About us

Many of us have experienced tiredness, exhaustion and burn-out – especially those of us dedicated to a particular cause.

Sustaining Ourselves is a retreat where you can reflect and gain practical resources to help nourish you in your daily life and work.

This 4-night programme is for anyone driven by a strong sense of purpose to make the world a better place. You might be a social or environmental activist or campaigner, a care-giver or someone in the helping professions in the service of others.

This retreat takes place in the very special setting of Grade 1-listed Sharpham House in South Devon, surrounded by tranquil gardens within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The programme is for you if…

  • You need rest, replenishment, renewal and inspiration.
  • You’ve experienced or are becoming concerned about the early signs of burn-out.
  • You tend to drive yourself, resulting in regular feelings of stress, exhaustion, anxiety and overwhelm.
  • You want to increase your personal resilience and self-care in a safe and supportive setting.
  • You’d benefit from reflection and connecting to nature and your creativity, far away from the busy-ness of your day-to-day life and work.
  • You’re interested in creatively enquiring into your relationship with your work in the world.
  • You want to explore how to remain active in your purpose to make the world a better place whilst overcoming cycles of burn-out.
  • You’d like to meet and learn from others on a similar journey.

During this 4-night programme you will…

  • Experience a unique synthesis of mindfulness, creative enquiry and nature-connection to enhance your personal resilience, taking on skills and tools to use in your life and work.
  • Explore a contribution to the world through self-care and self-compassion.
  • Learn or deepen your experience of how meditation and mindfulness can support your daily life and the balance between ‘being and doing’.
  • Learn to say NO with a good heart (and a clear conscience)
  • Recognise and become familiar with the early signs of burn-out and stress, exploring tools and strategies to avoid repeating the cycle.
  • Learn how acting from a place of urgency and desperation can be counter-productive to your effectiveness – and explore alternatives.
  • Share lovingly prepared home-cooked meals.
  • Have time for personal reflection and exploring your own work-rest balance.

    The course is for all adults aged 18 and above and all we ask is that you bring an open curiosity to exploring these issues.  Please note that this course might not be suitable if you are experiencing major depression or other serious and clinically diagnosed psychiatric illness.

It would be difficult to find a more ideal setting for a retreat. The beautiful natural environment really provides the opportunity to connect at a deeper level

Venue Highlights

The Sharpham Estate runs alongside a three-mile stretch of the River Dart in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in a tranquil setting surrounded by nature.

All heating and hot water systems in Sharpham House are run on an environmentally-friendly biomass woodchip boiler whilst The Barn's is run from a log furnace and solar thermal panels.

Participants have access to the formal and walled gardens surrounding Sharpham House as well as the unheated open air swimming pool (available only in summer months).

We also have two large photovoltaic solar panel arrays on the Estate and use biodegradable cleaning products wherever possible.

Mobile phone signal and our wifi internet is poor - which we see as a virtue - and we encourage participants to switch off from 'the network' whilst here, to help you and everyone else disengage from daily life and live fully in the simplicity and quietude of a country retreat.


  • Pool
  • Towels
  • Free Parking
  • Coffee/Tea
  • House-Keeping

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Organic
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free


At Sharpham House and Woodland, all of our meals are home-cooked, seasonal and vegetarian (and we earn a lot of praise for our food!). In line with sustainable practices across the Estate, we source food whenever possible from our Walled Garden (which is run on organic practices) and we support local food suppliers.

At The Barn, we supply as much food as possible from our organic gardens. The rest comes from organic farms and a trading collective.


Sharpham House has 24 bedrooms, ranging from the modest and cosy to historic and grand. All are made to be as comfortable as possible for you, including facilities to make hot drinks (you’ll also have access to 24-hour tea and coffee-making in the Toasting Room on the ground floor).

There is an accessible bedroom on the ground floor at Sharpham House, and a lift connecting all floors, although the limitations of an 18th century building mean we can't offer full accessibility. Do get in touch to discuss your needs.

Only some of the rooms are en-suite, and there are shared bathrooms on each floor.

There are no locks on the bedroom doors as every effort is made to keep the atmosphere of an informal family home. Please speak to the House Manager about keeping your valuables safe. Towels and bedding are supplied and a hairdryer and iron are available upon request.

Accommodation at The Barn is in single, comfortable rooms in a friendly atmosphere of fellowship. Barn rooms are randomly allocated, unless you have medical needs relating to your room allocation. There are shared bathrooms at The Barn.

Accommodation at the Woodland is in comfortable and spacious bell tents, which includes a single foam mattress, warm 13.5 tog duvet and bedding, a box for muddy shoes, a simple table and a solar light. There is no electricity at the tents, only at the main camp kitchen and the shower block. There is a shower and toilet block at the campsite featuring four hot showers and three flushing loos. There is a covered fire hearth area for wet weather and a yurt.

The Kuti is a small, rustic cabin in woodland near The Barn retreat centre. The Kuti has no electricity or running water, though there is water nearby and torches provided. There is a wood burner in The Kuti for heat, which you will be responsible for lighting, if required. Clean bedding and wood are provided.


Find us on Google Maps here

You can read, download or print a map & directions here and/or walking/cycling directions here, or directions are here on our website


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Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

Recenter, Rebalance, Renew..... I cannot provide nurture and wisdom to the people I love without the opportunity to fill up my own cup. Diane

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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