Rest, Reflect, Restore
Tuesday October 5th – Friday October 8th
A four-day writing retreat in a beautiful rural setting offering a creative and reflective space for you to rest, restore and reconnect with yourself and others.
- Are you tired, exhausted or just plain full up after the challenges of the past year?
- In need of some time to yourself to rest, reflect and restore your sense of energy?
- Looking for some direction for the year ahead?
If you would like to some time and space to reconnect with yourself in a safe, supportive group, drawing nourishment from some creative reflection in beautiful surroundings, this facilitated retreat offers the opportunity to explore writing as self-care and come away with some reflective writing tools and prompts to use yourself at home .
This retreat is designed for those working in the caring professions – including artists, healthcare professionals and managers - to pause and reflect on how to support their own needs in order to better care for others.
You probably know already that your ability to effectively care for others is directly impacted by making time to care for yourself. But when we are tired, depleted and running on empty, it can become increasingly hard to carve out that space when caring for our family, friends, patients or service users feels like the priority. Yet that is precisely when we most need to prioritise our own self-care. On this retreat you will explore what your own personal barriers to doing this are and how you might make it a positive commitment for the year ahead.
Through gentle, accessible and enjoyable writing activities we will explore what it means to pause and reconnect - with ourselves and with each other, drawing nourishment from the extraordinary natural environment of the Radnor Valley.
Using simple but effective writing strategies we will explore what it means to find a deep sense of safety and belonging. And, through playful and creative approaches to writing, we will develop a vision of what we want and need for ourselves.
Rested, restored and nourished by connection with the self and others, you will come away with:
- A deeper understanding of what it means to care for yourself amidst the stresses of daily life
- A clearer sense of what nourishes you and how to consistently build this into your life
- Creative tools to support you to do this on an ongoing basis.
Nourishment for the spirit
- Structured writing exercises
- Space to talk and share
- Time to yourself to walk, write, relax and reflect
- A programme of safe, enjoyable creative and reflective writing activities to help you pause, rest, reflect and reconnect to yourself to discover what you need to nourish and support yourself
Reflective writing tools and journaling prompts to take away and use at home
Encouragement to continue through follow-on writing prompts emailed to you for the three months after the retreat
“I have learned tools that will enable me to continue to write”
Sustenance for the body
- Healthy and nourishing meals
- Expansive and beautiful gardens
- Space to walk and explore the local area
- Super comfortable bedrooms and shared spaces
Delicious and healthy vegetarian meals, as well as fresh coffee, tea and herbal teas throughout your stay
- A choice of fresh and healthy breakfasts
- Buffet lunches including salads, bread, cheese, dips, quiche etc
- Fresh and delicious shared suppers
- Snacks and treats to keep us going in between.
Stunning natural environment with extensive gardens and local walks from the door
Accommodation in a choice of luxurious ensuite bedrooms or shared twin rooms
Space to spread out and relax, whether you are looking for a quiet spot for some much-needed alone time or somewhere to share and connect with others
- A large comfortable sitting room
- Spacious kitchen with a large table for writing or sharing a coffee
- Dining room opening out onto a beautiful garden and distant views
- Expansive garden and nearby walks to explore further afield
- Open fire and wood burner
- Telescope for stargazing in the dark sky area
- Games barn with ping pong, billiards, and croquet
- Close to stunning walking trails
- 30-minute drive to Hay-On-Wye
- 1.5 miles to the nearest village pub
The retreat will be led by two experienced facilitators: writer and arts and health producer, trainer and evaluator Jane Willis and writer and counsellor Rachel Hawkins-Crockford.
Jane is a creative producer, mentor, trainer and evaluator with more than 25 years’ experience. Founder and director of arts and health consultancy Willis Newson, she has been a pioneer of the arts and health field since 1994, when she set up Vital Arts, the arts programme for Bart’s Health NHS Trust. Since then, she has worked with more than 32 NHS Trusts, as well as with universities, galleries, museums and health leaders such as The Kings Fund and The Royal Society of Public Health to produce award-winning arts, health and wellbeing programmes.
Jane has a particular interest in supporting those in caring roles through creative approaches to reflective practice. She has an MA in English Literature and as well as using writing to support her own wellbeing, has led writing for wellbeing programmes for NHS staff. More recently, she gained an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes through autoethnographic research into her own experience of using reflective and creative writing to support self-care.
Rachel is a counsellor and writer for wellbeing facilitator providing support to people to enhance their mental and physical wellbeing as they face the challenges in their lives. She holds a diploma in psychotherapeutic counselling and a further qualification in creative writing for therapeutic purposes. She has experience working with a wide range of people, often using writing as a healing and developmental tool to help others find space to explore or move forward in relation to issues they are facing.
She works in a creative, compassionate and person-centred way, believing that creativity is central to the human experience and can be the key to unlocking our own meaning and potential. She has lived experience of the beneficial power of writing, is a member of a regular poetry workshop and facilitates a number of reflective writing groups. She expresses her own creativity through writing and sharing stories, particularly poetry, using it as a way to rest, to explore feelings, to enhance her professional development, and create connections with others and to the natural world.
She is committed to creating the space for others to experience the benefit of writing in an expressive and healing way.
Tuesday 5th October
Arrival Between 10.30 – 11.30am
Welcoming Activity 12noon – 12.45pm
Lunch 1pm – 2pm
Writing Workshop 3pm – 5.30pm
Wednesday 6th October
Breakfast 8am onwards
Writing Workshop 10am – 12.30pm
Free Time 2pm – 3.30pm
Writing Workshop 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Thursday 7th October
Breakfast 8am onwards
Writing Workshop 10am – 12.45pm
Lunch 1pm – 2pm
Free Time 2pm – 6pm
Supper 6pm – 7pm
7.30pm – 9.30pm Closing Celebratory Activity
Friday 8th October
Breakfast 8am – 9am
Depart by 10am
You will be staying at The Hymns, an ancient farmstead set in idyllic countryside in the Welsh Marches, close to Hay-on-Wye, thoughtfully and imaginatively restored to create a very relaxed, welcoming, and comfortable home.
Sitting at the end of a private lane, without any immediate neighbours, the farmstead and grounds are completely private and peaceful, offering a spacious and unique base for our retreat.
The main house is from the 16th-century and dates back to c1540. It sits in a courtyard of 17th-century buildings surrounded by a huge, beautifully designed garden, against a backdrop of the stunning Radnor Valley.
Outside the grounds spread out from the farmhouse: a beautiful garden with herbaceous borders, terraces for alfresco dining, garden seats perfectly positioned in quiet corners, a large area of lawn, wildflower meadows, and wonderfully wildlife-rich woodland.
There are parterres and herbaceous borders with roses, peonies, lilies, irises and tulips; and a flourishing herb garden on the edge of the south-facing terrace off the kitchen. The wildflower meadows are full of cornflowers, poppies and chamomile and you are welcome to explore the woodland and fields beyond the house where you can forage for blackberries, rosehips, sloe and elderflower.
There are lovely walks around the grounds. The birdlife and wildlife is rich and varied with swallows, house martins, red kites, doves, goldfinches, redstarts, yellow hammers, tawny owls, hedgehogs, rabbits and dragonflies in abundance.
The sitting room is a lovely room with ancient beams and comfy sofas, so that you can sit and relax in front of the wood burner. There is a piano and even a telescope to explore the brightly-starred, deep black night sky.
The kitchen is light and airy and opens out onto two paved terraces with outdoor tables and chairs – one facing south, is perfect for breakfasts and morning coffee; while the other, facing west and adjoining the dining room, is perfect for late afternoon, early evening drinks or supper.
The dining room has French doors opening onto the west-facing terrace with expansive views out to the hills.
Costs include three nights’ accommodation, all meals, tea, coffee and snacks throughout your stay, a programme of tailored writing workshops and creative activities, as well as three-months follow-on reflective writing resources.
Rates vary according to the type of room chosen:
£675 Pencraig: Single occupancy of king size four poster room with large ensuite (with shower over the bath, loo and basin) on the first floor of the main house
£675 The Hide: Single occupancy of self-contained studio with double bed and ensuite (with loo, basin and shower), and kitchenette with views across the valley up into the hills.
£675 The Cowbyre: Single occupancy of self-contained studio with king size four poster bed and ensuite (with loo, basin and wet-room shower)
£625 Ednol: Single occupancy of room with 4’6” double bed and ensuite (with loo and hand basin) in main house
£625 Whimble: Single occupancy of double-bed room with balcony on first floor of main house
£575 Single: Occupancy of a single bedroom with a standard 3ft bed, and access to a shared family bathroom with deep bath, loo, and hand basin across the hallway
£495 The Vron: Shared occupancy in single beds in twin bedded room with access to shared bathroom on second floor of main house
£400 Llan Fawr: Shared occupancy in single bed in triple bedded room with access to shared bathroom on second floor of main house
The maximum number will be nine participants.
Speak to us to find out more email Jane@willisnewson.co.uk or call 0117 924 7617
Booking Terms & Conditions
In making a booking with us for this writing retreat by email, telephone, post or in person you are agreeing to these terms and conditions so please read them carefully:
All bookings must be accompanied by a deposit of £200. Your booking is definite once we have confirmed receipt of your deposit and a place on the retreat by email. The balance of your booking fee is then payable no later than six weeks before the retreat starts. If we do not receive your balance when it’s due, we reserve the right to treat this as a cancellation by you and offer the place to someone else.
For the first 14 days after you have confirmed your booking you may cancel your booking and have all fees paid returned to you less a £50 cancellation administrative charge, except where the course or retreat begins within this period, in which case we cannot offer a refund of fees.
Following this initial 14-day period, we will still accept cancellations of bookings up to six weeks before the course or retreat begin but we will not be able to refund your deposit.
If you cancel your booking less than six weeks before the course or retreat begins (but before the first day of the course or retreat), you will be liable for the full booking fee.
However, if following your cancellation all available places on the retreat are ultimately sold (so that the retreat is fully occupied), then we will refund to you all fees paid less a £50 cancellation charge.
Please note that if you leave the course or retreat after it has begun or if you fail to attend all or any part of the course (without reasonable cause such as illness (including but not limited to covid-19), bereavement or family emergency), no refund will be made and we will retain 100% of your fee. Any refunds made in these circumstances due to illness, bereavement, family emergency or similar events will be at the sole discretion of us.
Cancellations by us in advance of the retreat due to UK Government public health measures
We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if it is necessary in the interests of the health and safety of ourselves, participants or others as a result of heightened risk from Covid-19. In making your booking you also acknowledge that we may be required to cancel your booking at any time due to UK Government public health measures or changes in legislation, regulation or guidance by UK statutory authorities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, whether any such measures, legislation, regulation or guidance apply to all of England or to specific localities only. If we cancel your booking for these reasons or for any other reason of force majeure or any reason that means we are unable to run the retreat, we will refund any retreat fees you have paid to us.
We cannot reimburse travel costs or other losses incurred by you in the event of cancellation by us or you. You are strongly advised to take out travel insurance to cover potential loss arising from cancellation or other eventuality affecting your booking, including course fees and travel or other consequential costs. You should check that any policy you purchase meets your needs.
Changes to the programme
We reserve the right to make changes to the advertised programme and facilitators. We always endeavour to replace facilitators with someone of similar experience, and to give you as much notice as possible. Please note that where we have to change facilitator, you do not have additional rights of cancellation and our standard terms still apply.
Conduct and safety on site
This retreat relies on a supportive, intimate environment of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding between all participants and facilitators. We therefore ask that you are thoughtful and respectful of each other and us to help foster an atmosphere conducive to wellbeing, creativity and safety. We reserve the right to refuse a place and / or to exclude from a course or retreat any participant who behaves in an abusive or disruptive manner or engages in any discriminatory conduct. If necessary, and particularly in the event of abusive behaviour, we may have to ask you to leave the retreat. No refund will be given if exclusion is made for these reasons.
Damage and cleaning
The buildings and grounds at the Hymns are your home during your stay; please treat them with care and respect. You agree to reimburse us promptly on demand for all reasonable costs incurred by us as a result of any damage caused by you or excessive cleaning required as a result of your stay.
A place on the retreat may be used only by the participant named in the booking. It may not be transferred to another person without agreement in advance from us. Please note that you are not permitted to have guests or visitors on site during your stay.
This retreat is only open to people aged 18 and over. By booking on a course you confirm that the participant named in the booking is aged 18 or over.
Privacy and data
By booking, you agree that we may collect and store personal information about you and your interactions with us for the purposes of running this retreat. This includes: your personal contact details; gender; details of your booking and booking history, including any access and dietary needs you have told us about; records of payments (not including credit/debit cards numbers, etc.); any correspondence and any other information we need to keep in order to administer your booking. All personal information is kept securely. We will use this information to communicate with you about your booking and we may, unless you tell us otherwise, communicate with you occasionally about our work and other courses and support that we offer. We never share or sell information about our course participants with any third party, either in aggregate or in individual form.
We will not be liable for any loss, damage or expense sustained by participants on the retreat as a result of any event or circumstance whether arising from natural cause, human agency, or beyond our control otherwise. We will not be liable for any indirect or consequential costs, claims, actual or alleged losses arising out of or in connection with the retreat.
Participation and access
During your stay, you will be expected to live and work independently, as if in your own home, including some basic domestic duties such as washing up after meals. If you have specific needs that may require accommodation, it is important that you discuss these with us before booking a place, to establish whether your needs can be met at the particular site of this retreat.
Comments and complaints
While we make every effort to maintain high standards and provide high-quality experiences, you may want to offer comments or make a complaint. At the end of the retreat we will give you the opportunity to provide feedback through an evaluation form, but you are also welcome to raise any issue with us at any point during the retreat or more formally, in writing, within ten days of the retreat having taken place and we will respond to you within fourteen days of receiving any complaint.
The contract between you and us is governed by English law.