The People at the Retreat

Retreat by the Dart was founded by Debbie Thorpe. Debbie has a life-long commitment to following a spiritual path and for the past 30 years has had many retreat experiences: at Shantivanam Ashram in Southern India with Bede Griffiths; Buddhist retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh; regular Ignatian retreats; a month long silent retreat; and self-guided retreats on holiday breaks. She is passionate about the benefits of going on retreat and brings her passion and experience to the space she has created at the Coach House.

In her twenties Debbie lived for 6 years in an ecumenical Christian community at Post Green, Dorset. During that formative time, in which she shared the ups and downs of community living, she saw the benefits that visitors experienced coming into a place of quiet, loving and creative support. She then worked for 20 years as a book publisher specialising in the field of global spirituality. Her publishing experience gave her a deep understanding of the way in which all faiths contain the seeds of true spirituality and whilst her background is in the Christian faith, her front ground embraces the Truth at the heart of all faiths. She left publishing in order to live out her calling to “friendship” , both deepening her own relationship with the Spirit and offering ways to support others on their spiritual path.

Over the years Debbie has trained in Spiritual Accompaniment (Haden Institute, US) Facilitation Styles (Department of Human Potential, University of Surrey), and completed a Foundation year at Revision in London (Integrative Psychosynthesis). Her professional career, studies, training and life experience have all contributed to her unique approach to retreat giving. From childhood she loved being in nature, and she is passionate about the way in which nature can inform and inspire on retreat. During recent years she has embraced a daily practice of Centering Prayer, believing that at the heart of true spirituality is our own personal journey to find, or be found by, the True Centre from where compassion flows.


As well as residential retreats we also offer day retreats and group events. Each event will focus on a specific theme, and include a combination of teaching, silence, creativity, spiritual practice and personal reflection. The use of the garden, library and sanctuary will be available to participants.