Why go on a Retreat?

Retreat has become a buzz word – it can mean anything from a weekend glamping in the countryside to a solitary month in a high mountain hut. And whilst it no longer has a specifically religious connotation there are associated words that come readily to mind: quiet, “getting away”, rest, relaxation, space. All these are important elements of a retreat and Retreat by the Dart provides all the “ingredients” to switch off, take time to breathe and to be quietly immersed in the stunning natural surroundings. It may also be that something is stirring inside, a call to explore some questions more deeply. For this a time of deeper reflection, silence and solitude is also available for either self-led retreats or with accompaniment.

Many people are no longer interested in religious forms that seem outdated and disconnected, yet there is still a longing for meaning, and the need for a “container” in which to connect to that deeper sense of meaning. With guidance and support along the way, a retreat can be that container. It can be a time for finding the courage to let go of things that no longer serve us, or to become aware of what we are being drawn towards. It can provide a place, a space, a moment in time for deeper exploration; to discover within a renewed sense of meaning; to experience a deeper sense of connection at the centre of our being – to the Mystery at the heart of life, the Source, the Divine, God if you will. No matter which words you use or which spiritual path you pursue, whether from within a religious institution or without, what’s important is our willingness to be open more deeply and fully, in our heart, our mind and our body.

The retreat facilities are available to support the process of being able to go beyond our familiar mind, with its logical and sometimes limiting ways of perception to a deeper steadier and quieter place where new insight and inspiration can bring us more closely to our true identity, our True Self. From this more centred place we can return to our “ordinary” lives perhaps with a refreshed vision, a new sense of purpose, a different way of seeing or even wanting a fresh start!

Spiritual Accompaniment

It can help to have someone alongside you during this exploratory time. In the tradition of the early Celtic church, a person who acted as a spiritual guide was called an “anamchara” meaning friend of the soul. A spiritual companion is someone who sits alongside you as a friend to your soul, as a support as you take time in silence, allowing a deeper encounter within. Typically a daily time is set aside to reflect together on the issues arising, the way the retreat experience is unfolding and what may be helpful to further the exploration. Examples would be reflecting on a poem or sacred text, taking a slow nature walk, or making creative use of the art materials. Through her life experience of going on retreats and training in spiritual accompaniment Debbie is able to offer practical suggestions, exercises and ideas to support the process of enquiry and reflection.

How long is a retreat?

The longer you can take the better – a typical guided retreat length is 6 nights/5 days. Longer is possible and shorter is ok, but remember that it takes time to let go of regular preoccupations, time to settle into a quieter rhythm, and to sink down sufficiently to hear that still small voice of wisdom or find that “aha” moment, that allows for a deeper clarity, unity of vision, as we step back out into the world.

Preperation for retreat

However you decide to spend your time at Retreat by the Dart, but especially if you come for a guided retreat, it is helpful to take some time beforehand to reflect on what prompted the idea, what issues are around, and how you hope to benefit from your retreat. Sometimes a retreat evolves in a quite unexpected way, but these initial markers can help find a way in.

There are many ways of spending your time at
Retreat by the Dart

  • You can come for a day, a weekend, a week, or longer.
  • The retreat space is self-contained with its own private access.
  • You may have a particular question or you may just want to see what emerges.
  • One-to-one support can be provided to help with your retreat experience.
  • You can be completely on your own, self-contained and self-catering.
  • You may wish to bring your own food, or stock up at the farm shop.
  • You can come alone, or with a friend, partner or spouse.
"So now… think; take stock; what do you really want?" Old Testament prophet, Haggai


“I have been on many retreats in my life but have never before experienced such personal and profoundly life-changing spiritual accompaniment.”

“your support, guidance, wisdom, kindness, attentiveness, encouragement and compassion is what made this, my first experience of a retreat, an incredibly special one!”

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.

Events Diary

  • Please subscribe to the mailing list for direct notification of future events.

More information about each event will be posted on the website in advance.