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/30 mins 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.

The Hideaway is a serene place to think, create and just be. With barely another house in sight, you can sit on the swing seat and feel like you’re in a blissful bubble. It’s rustic, imperfect, a little rough around the edges and just a little bit magic.

 

Set on the edge of a beautiful valley, we try to live in harmony with the land, with a big woodburner to heat 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? Take a look at the FAQ section to see if it’s suitable as it’s a bit quirky, but please also know that my crummy photos don’t do it justice!

Time to think

Get away from the stresses of everyday life and just write

A place to relax

I’ll take care of boring practicalities like food so you can just work

Space to write

Your own double room, with a desk and a comfy chair

Summer 2018 - Writing Retreat Dates & Prices

 

Writing Retreat Dates and Prices

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

Summer 2018 Dates

6 nights 3 nights (weekend) 3 nights (weekday)
Mon 18th – Thurs 21st June 2018:

£310 £225

One space left

All Hideaway retreats start at 4pm on your first day and end at 1pm on the final day so that you can arrive before dark and get a full morning of writing on your last day. If your retreat ends part way through a week (normally Monday), you will need to vacate your room briefly to allow us to clean it, but you can use the communal tables and work in your room again once we’ve finished.

 

2018 pricing

6 nights 3 nights
£585 £310

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About the house

The West Room

The room over the kitchen contains a double bed with an orthopaedic 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 a memory foam mattress, a desk and an armchair. It’s heated via a hole in the floor above the fireplace in the main living room. It has a lovely view and slightly better wifi.

Living Room

 

The living room is large, with a table to work at at one end and cosy sofas and a big woodburner at the other, perfect for curling up next to with a good book.

 

 

 

Bathroom

 

The shared bathroom has a new shower, a bath and a lovely stained glass panel in the ceiling so you can lie in a solar-heated bath and watch the sky…

 

Rooms are first come-first served, and 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 from 4pm on your first day, and you may have to vacate your room after breakfast on your last day so that your room can be prepared for new arrivals (if you leave on a Monday). Departures are at 1pm after an early lunch, so that you can use the morning for writing. 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.

Questions

So just how rustic is it? 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. ACCESSIBILITY: I’m really sorry, but there’s no getting around it: this is not an accessibility-friendly place. There are steps to the property and inside the property, and the whole thing sits on a precipitous slope. ACCESS: The road really is narrow for a number of miles, 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.

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, and each room has a lock. All rooms are normally for single occupation but if you’d like to share with a friend, get in touch and I’ll let you know what the current situation is (the charge is normally £150 per 3 nights for an additional writer, but be aware you may need to share a bed). There are no en-suite rooms at the Hideaway, and you’ll normally share a bathroom with one other writer, two at the most.

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 online 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 can come for a discounted price of £150 per 3 days (and I can split the invoice however you wish). I don’t currently have any spare/camp beds at the Hideaway, but if you’re happy to share a double bed and want to bring a fellow writer, contact me.

Is it accessible to wheelchairs or people with limited movement?
I’m really sorry, but the house is not accessible to wheelchairs and may be tricky for those with limited movement. It’s 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 whether it’s suitable.

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. At bigger retreats I can normally provide options for, say, vegetarians and meat-eaters, but at The Hideaway we will all eat the same as far as possible. This means it’s likely some main meals and most lunches will be vegetarian. 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. There aren’t set quiet times and the number of people around is small, but please be considerate of noise as other people might be working. You’ll have a desk in your room, and there’s a table in the kitchen and another in the living room. There are also a couple of old folding school tables with proper teenage (i.e rude) graffiti that you can put in the conservatory, the living room, the garden or anywhere else that takes your fancy. Start work early, spend long hours walking or reading in the bath, whatever you fancy. This time is yours.

What are check in/out times?
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 weekday (normally Monday), you need to vacate your room by 10am 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.

How do I get there?
I’ll send the location after you’ve booked, but it’s a 35-ish minute taxi ride (14 miles) from Tiverton Parkway, which is on the main train line between London and Paddington. Tiverton Parkway is a 15 minute bus ride (leaves hourly but not always well-timed) from Tiverton itself. Taxis are £25 or £30 from the station depending on which company you use, and so I’ll ask if I can put you in touch with your fellow writer/s in the hopes that you can share taxis. If you’re driving, it’s a 20 minute drive west of Tiverton on country lanes. We have two sets of directions, 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 narrow, winding road with plenty of hills and 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 you might think you’re lost at least once (if we can share a WhatsApp pin it’s much easier – google maps seems to go a bit skewiff around here). Think of it as an adventure, or the price you’re paying for rural bliss…

Is there wifi?
Yes, and it’s 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. The signal is better in the East room – it works well in the West room at the desk, but you probably won’t get signal in bed.

BARTER: it may be possible at some times of the year to barter your skills for writing time and a place to stay. This would probably mean that you’d get to stay with us (self-catering mostly) in exchange for 4 hours of work a day on the land or on admin and/or marketing. Enthusiasm and a conscientious nature are probably more important than specific skills for this, but a love of gardening or DIY wouldn’t hurt. We could arrange this so your afternoons were free to write. CARETAKER: these spaces would come up when we need to be away. There would be less work to do (probably only garden tasks that need to be done that week and caring for the ducks, chickens and cat) but obviously more responsibility if we’re leaving our home in your hands. We are very remote and it’s critical that we have a self-sufficient problem-solver with practical skills caring for the place, in order to deal with any issues that arise when we’re away. A car would be essential, and there will be a vetting procedure. Your lodgings would depend on who else was on the site at the time, and there are varying degrees of rustic here (i.e. only the main cottage has hot water and a standard water-flush loo)! If this sounds interesting, email me at hello@urbanwritersretreat.co.uk and let me know what you’re interested in, if you have any relevant skills and if you have particular timeframes or need a certain amount of notice. I’m not sure what’s likely to come up, but let’s chat.