Need to get away from it all?

Your own room

(Unless you want to share with a friend/partner – supplement applies).

No workshops or classes

Just days on end of blissful writing.

All food included (and some wine!)

No cooking, no cleaning. I look after you so that you can focus on writing.

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Open to all writers

Published, unpublished, fiction, non-fiction, poets, academics, students, entrepreneurs – anyone who needs space to think and work is welcome.

Sometimes it’s hard to focus. You’re constantly juggling work, family obligations, distractions, your endless to-do list. 

 

You need to escape.

 

You need a place with a room of your own, where the practical stuff like food is taken care of so your time is entirely your own.

 

Write, read, go on long walks, take baths, chat to other writers, dream, think, play. It’s up to you…

 

Bliss.

Peace and quiet

Well, except for the odd donkey/cockerel. It’s the countryside, after all.

A room of one's own

Bedrooms range from cute little singles to huge kingsizes with claw-foot bathtubs. And no need to share.

Space to write

Be super-productive in the shared workspace, or find a nook to yourself.

Writing retreats at two venues, both in Devon. Which one suits you?

writing retreat UK

Retreats at The Hideaway

A quirky, rustic two bedroom cottage tucked away in the hills outside Tiverton.

Writing retreats in Devon

Country House Retreats

A comfortable, spacious 7-bedroom house near Newton Abbot

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Writing Retreat Dates Early 2018

Hideaway Dates

May to August dates coming soon!

 

 

Country House Dates

(3 or 6 night options available for all dates)

Fri 20th Apr – Thurs 26th Apr 2018

Fri 22nd Jun – Thurs 28th Jun SOLD OUT

Where would you like to go next?

The Hideaway – Where the Wild Words Are

No workshops or classes

Just days on end of blissful writing to focus on your own project.

Your own room

(Unless you want to share with a friend/partner – supplement applies).

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Three or six nights

Arrive at 4pm so you can find us while it’s light! We may need you to vacate your bedroom around 10am, but you can get a full morning of writing in in the communal areas then leave at 1pm after an early lunch.

Rural bliss

15 miles from a mainline station (Tiverton Parkway in Devon).

All food included (and some wine!)

No group cooking, no cleaning. I look after you so that you can focus on writing.

 

 

About the house

 

The Hideaway is a serene place to think, create and just be. It’s rustic, imperfect, and just a little bit magic.

Set on the edge of a beautiful valley, we have a big woodburner that heats the house, water from our own spring, solar tubes on the roof to heat the bath, a large veg patch to grow food in, and ducks and chickens running around.

We even have good wifi most of the time (no TV, but that’s not what you’re here for).

Wondering if it’s the right place for you? I do mean it when I say rustic – take a look at the FAQ section to see if it’s suitable for you, but please also know that my crummy photos don’t do it justice!

The West Room

The room over the kitchen contains a double bed with a memory foam mattress, desk and armchair. It has windows on two sides so gets lots of light, including sunset views.

 

The East Room

This room has a comfy double bed with an orthopaedic mattress, and a desk and armchair. It’s heated via a hole in the floor above the fireplace in the main living room.

Living Room

 

The living room is large, with cosy sofas and a big woodburner, perfect for curling up next to with a good book.

 

 

 

Bathroom

 

The shared bathroom has a new shower, a solar/wood-heated bath, and a stained glass panel in the ceiling.

 

Country House Retreats – Welcome to Writer Heaven

Easy to reach

20 minute taxi from a mainline station (Newton Abbot in Devon).

Your own room

(Unless you want to share with a friend/partner – supplement applies).

No workshops or classes

Just days on end of blissful writing to focus on your own project.

}

Three or six nights

Arrive at 6pm on your first day and leave at 4:30pm on the last day to maximise writing time.

All food included (and some wine!)

No cooking, no cleaning. I look after you so that you can focus on writing.

En-suite Rooms

Room 7

An en-suite double in the attic.

It has a huge kingsize bed that’s all yours, an armchair and a table you can write at.

There’s also a little window seat and a bathroom, including a free-standing slipper bath with hand-held shower.

Room 6

An en-suite double in the attic that mirrors room 7.

It has a huge kingsize bed that’s all yours, an armchair and a table you can write at.

There’s also a little window seat and a bathroom, including a free-standing slipper bath with hand-held shower.

Room 5

 

A large family room with an en-suite bathroom, all to yourself.

It has a kingsize bed, a single bed in the corner, a sofa and armchairs and a big window seat.

 

Room 3

A smallish room above the kitchen at the back of the house.

This means you do get noise from the kitchen and the wifi doesn’t work properly in this room, so it’s perfect for people who like working in cafes, want to escape the distractions of the internet or intend to write in the work room but not great if you’re very noise-sensitive.

It has a brand new king-size bed and its own bathroom with a deep bath (no shower), woohoo!

 

 

Rooms With Shared Bathrooms

 

 

Room 4

A big double with a kingsize bed all to yourself, a chaise-longue, window seat and a couple of armchairs.

There’s also a small table if you’d like to write in your room and shared bathrooms (two bathrooms between three rooms).

 

Room 2

A pretty single room with a huge window.

It’s small, with a single bed and shared bathrooms (two bathrooms between three rooms).

Room 1

 

A cosy attic room with a window seat.

It’s small and sweet, with a single bed and shared bathrooms (two bathrooms between three rooms).

 

 

 

Bathrooms

 

Three bedrooms share two bathrooms, so there’s never a rush.

 

Price and Booking

Dates go up in batches every few months, so pop your details in the big turquoise signup box below to hear about new dates. They do sell out quickly and writers who have been before get priority booking. If you want to be added to a waiting list, just let me know.

Winter 2018 Prices

Room type 6 nights 3 nights
Single, shared bathroom £535 £285
Double, shared bathroom or small en-suite double £585 £310
Large double, en-suite £625 £330

Booking – Country House Retreats

6 nights Fri 20th – Thurs 26th April 2018 3 nights Fri 20th – Mon 23rd April  3 nights Mon 23rd – Thurs 26th April
 Room 1: SOLD OUT Room 1: SOLD OUT Room 1: SOLD OUT
 Room 2: SOLD OUT Room 2: SOLD OUT Room 2: SOLD OUT
Room 3: SOLD OUT Room 3: SOLD OUT Room 3: SOLD OUT
 Room 4: SOLD OUT Room 4: SOLD OUT Room 4: SOLD OUT
 Room 5: SOLD OUT  Room 5: SOLD OUT Room 5: SOLD OUT
 Room 6: SOLD OUT Room 6: SOLD OUT Room 6: SOLD OUT
 Room 7: SOLD OUT Room 7: SOLD OUT  Room 7: SOLD OUT
SOLD OUT SOLD OUT SOLD OUT

 

6 nights Fri 22nd – Thurs 28th Jun 2018 3 nights Fri 22nd – Mon 25th Jun  3 nights Mon 25th – Thurs 28th Jun Mar
 Room 1: N/A Room 1: SOLD OUT Room 1: SOLD OUT
 Room 2: SOLD OUT Room 2: SOLD OUT Room 2: SOLD OUT
Room 3: SOLD OUT Room 3: SOLD OUT Room 3: SOLD OUT
 Room 4: SOLD OUT Room 4: SOLD OUT Room 4: SOLD OUT
 Room 5: SOLD OUT  Room 5: SOLD OUT Room 5: SOLD OUT
 Room 6: SOLD OUT Room 6: SOLD OUT Room 6: SOLD OUT
 Room 7: SOLD OUT Room 7: SOLD OUT  Room 7: SOLD OUT

 

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FAQ

What's included?
Your own room including bedding and towels plus three meals a day including a glass of wine or two with dinner. And, of course, snacks. If you’re lucky, cake might be involved.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s likely that most lunches and at least one evening meal will be vegetarian. Some will be simple – sandwiches or a bowl of pasta perhaps – some will be fancier. You’ll forage for your own breakfast (but you still don’t have to wash up, hooray). We grow food without pesticides or chemicals and I’m hoping to increase the amount of home-grown goodies you get fed over time.

 

You’re welcome to bring anything else you’d like to have on top of what’s provided, and you’ll also take care of your travel arrangements, toiletries and any additional trips you’d like to make.

 

Will I get my own room?

Yes. All rooms are for single occupation. If you’d like to share with a friend, there’s an additional fee of £150 per 3 night session – I can divide the invoice however you choose.

 

 

 

What are check in/out times?

At the Hideaway: you can arrive from around 4pm on your first day, meaning that if you’re driving you can arrive in the light and hopefully find us (!)

Departures are at 1pm, so you can work the morning and have an early lunch at 12 before leaving. If you’re leaving on a Monday you’ll need to vacate your room (really this just means have all your stuff neatly in a corner) by 10 or 11am so that we can clean and prepare for the next writer, but the communal areas are still all yours and once we’re done you’ll be able to use the desk etc. again.

At the Country House: you can arrive from 6pm. This is because I rent a holiday house to run these retreats and can’t get in until mid-late afternoon, then need some time to prepare.

Departures are at 4:30pm so that you still get maximum writing time. If you’re leaving on a Monday you’ll need to vacate your room (really this just means have all your stuff neatly in a corner) by 10 or 11am so that we can clean and prepare for the next writer, but the communal areas are still all yours and once we’re done you’ll be able to use the desk etc. again.

Is there wifi?

There is wifi at both the Country House and the Hideaway. In both places it’s generally pretty decent, but, ehhhhhhh, this is the middle of the countryside so it has been known to vanish after storms, in high winds or just because it’s Tuesday.

 

 

 

So just how rustic is The Hideaway? What's it like?

 

The Hideaway a spacious old two-bedroom farm cottage with a lovely rustic feel – think original beams, wooden floors, and reclaimed material everywhere. My partner, Nick, and I live in the barn further down the site.

HEATING: It’s true, we don’t have central heating. Gasp! Our heating comes from the woodburner and the Everhot stove in the kitchen. It’s definitely a woolly jumper and slippers type of house and it does tend to be chilly in the morning when the fire has died down, but honestly it’s not as bad as it sounds! I’ll bring the fire back to life each morning and keep it going, and you’re always welcome to throw more logs on. We also have plenty of blankets and hot water bottles, and I’ve just made new thermal curtains (ooh). The West Room is perhaps a little warmer because it’s over the range-heated kitchen and the woodburner feeds a radiator in this room. The East room has our unique vertically integrated convection system, a.k.a. a hole in the floor above the main fireplace. And we do have backup plug-in radiators!

BATHROOMS: There’s a shared bathroom with a brand new bath and shower. The bath water is primarily heated by solar tubes and the woodburner, meaning that it tends to be warmest in the evening – perfect for a nice pre-dinner bath. The shower heats its own water, and if you want hot in the morning there’s an immersion heater too.

WIFI: We do have wifi but be aware that we are VERY rural and things can go wrong with the system quite easily. It’s pretty good when things are running smoothly though, good enough for video calls.

WATER: The water comes from a spring, not the mains. It’s delicious and it’s UV filtered (we’re in the process of having it tested and certified). However, if you have the slightest concerns or your immune system is compromised at all, then we have a Brita filter you are welcome to use.

NOISE: We’re set in the middle of farmland with a carpenter close by and we may need to do our own smallholding work, so obviously we can’t guarantee quiet. It’s an old house with poor sound insulation (and a heating hole in the floor!) so we ask writers to be considerate about noise levels, partly for the benefit of your fellow writer and partly because you don’t want everyone overhearing your phone conversations. Having said all that, this is one of the most peaceful places I know.

THE SITE: You’re very welcome to roam our 3 acres. We have paths down into the little wooded valley and along the river a little way, chickens and ducks you can visit and a very friendly cat. It has hazards aplenty (the bridge is slippery!), but hey, you’re an adult. We trust you to be sensible and safe.

ACCESS: The road really is narrow, with grass growing up the middle and a LOT of potholes (and possibly puddles – there’s a reason why Devon is so lush). Do not bring your low-slung sports car.

NEARBY: You might wonder what facilities are nearby – er, none. The nearest pub is a 10/15 minute drive, the nearest shop a bit further, 5 miles or so. You probably wouldn’t want to walk it unless you really like hills. Did I mention it’s hilly round here?

If you’re worried about it, the Country House is generally a bit more accessible both for people with limited mobility and in terms of access to services like healthcare. Some rooms there also have ensuite bathrooms, which The Hideaway doesn’t.

 

 

Is there a room-sharing discount?
Most people don’t want to share with a stranger, so I don’t offer this option and the prices are all for one person in each room. However, if there is a suitable room available and you want to share a room with a friend/partner, the second person comes for £150 per 3 night session (£300 for 6 nights). I can split the cost on invoices in whichever way suits you both.

 

Is it accessible to wheelchairs or people with limited movement?

 

I’m really sorry, but neither the Country House nor the Hideaway are accessible to wheelchairs. They may be tricky for those with limited movement as there are no downstairs bedrooms.

Room 3 at the Country House is the most accessible as it is up fewest stairs, and this house has a downstairs toilet.

The Hideaway is located down (and then up) steps, both bedrooms are upstairs and the entire site sits on a steep slope. If you’re wondering whether it will be suitable for you then contact me with your needs and we can talk about it.

 

Can you deal with my food allergies/intolerances/weird aversion to broccoli?
Possibly. I’m an untrained home cook, and I can’t deal with severe intolerances or allergies, or with any other serious medical issues.

 

 

 

If you have difficult food or medical requirements, you’ll need to contact me before booking. If you’re not sure if your needs count as difficult, please click the booking button and fill in the form but also email me.

I’ll do my best to fit around people’s needs and dislikes because I’d much rather serve food that people can eat and will like, but it isn’t always possible. I can normally provide options for, say, vegetarians and meat-eaters on bigger retreats, but here we will all eat the same.

I figure that I’ll do my best but that you’ll understand if I still go ahead and serve your pet hate because, you know, you understand that juggling lots of food requests isn’t easy and anyway hating broccoli is weird. Broccoli is amazing.

If there’s ever a meal you don’t like though, you’ll always be very welcome to make yourself egg on toast. Believe me, nobody’s going to starve around here.

Er, how about you tell me about the writing now?

Okay, fiiiiiine. Your schedule is entirely your own. There are no classes or workshops, just acres of time to write, read, walk, etc. This retreat is about going you time away from the distractions of your everyday life so that you can settle down and focus for an extended period of time (something that’s increasingly rare). It’s about your project, giving you the space and support to help you actually do it.

I generally ask people to keep things quiet from around 9am-6pm to allow other writers peace for work, but you’ll need to be considerate of noise in both houses as they are old and have limited sound insulation.

Country House: some rooms have desks in, and we also have access to a couple of large tables that you can bagsy for your room. There are a few small side tables that are around the right height that we can move into small rooms. There’s a large dining room to work in, a table in the kitchen and a side table that can work as a desk in the living room.

Hideaway: you’ll have a desk in your room, and there’s a table in the living room and one in the kitchen. There are also a couple of old folding school tables with ‘interesting’ graffiti that you can put in the conservatory, by the fire, in the garden or anywhere else that takes your fancy.

 

How do I get there?

Country House: It’s a 20 minute-ish taxi ride (9 miles) from Newton Abbot station which is on the main train line between London and Penzance. Taxis cost approx £20, and I’ll provide a link to a Facebook group where you can arrange taxi shares.

Newton Abbot is also on a Megabus route, though the timetable isn’t all that convenient. National Express has a better selection.

If you’re driving, it’s 15 minutes off the a38 Devon Expressway. It’s on a one-track road, though there are reasonably regular passing places.

Hideaway: It’s a 35-ish minute taxi ride (14 miles) from Tiverton Parkway station, which is on the main train line between London and Penzance. Tiverton Parkway is a 15 minute bus ride (leaves hourly) from Tiverton itself, but it’s by far best to get a taxi straight from the station. Taxis cost approx £30/25 depending on the company, and I’ll put you in touch with your fellow writer to see if you can work out a taxi share.

Tiverton is on a Megabus route with well-timed, cheap buses, and there’s also National Express (you’ll still have to get a taxi up from town, but it should be a bit less than from the station).

If you’re driving, it’s a 20 minute drive west of Tiverton on country lanes, and we are nowhere near the point a Satnav will take you to using the postcode. We have two good sets of directions though, one for the stout of heart and one for those less used to the countryside. It’s only fair to be completely honest about this, we are located on a very small nameless road with probably fewer passing places than you’d like. You’re likely to encounter grass growing in the road and even on the ‘better’ road there are a lot of potholes. Even with directions, many people lose heart and think they’re lost when they area almost here. If you have WhatsApp, I can share my location with you on the day and you can set your phone’s map/directions to that. Think of it as an adventure, the price you pay for rural bliss…

 

Rooms are first come-first served. I’ll do my best to allocate you the type of room you request, but you’re asked for 2 choices and I’ll let you know the options if there are any problems. Please make sure you check availability before filling in the booking form. Once you’ve booked, I’ll email you (this can take a few days) to confirm I’ve got your request and to send an invoice, and you’ll then have a week to transfer the money in order to secure your room. Rooms can’t be held without payment. Cancellations and date changes must be made six weeks ahead of your retreat start date for a refund. If you cancel or change dates between three and six weeks ahead of your retreat date you’ll be entitled to a 50% refund. After this date, no refunds or changes are possible. All cancellations and booking changes are also subject to a £30 admin fee. Please make sure that you have travel insurance in case you’re unable to come to the retreat at the last minute, have trouble on the journey, etc. You’ll arrive in the evening of your first day (from 6pm) and you may have to vacate your room after breakfast on your last day so that your room can be prepared for new arrivals, but you don’t have to leave until 4:30pm so that you get the maximum possible writing time. Please note that I’m a home cook and can’t deal with severe food intolerances or particularly difficult requirements. If you think you might fit into this category, please contact me before booking.