A glorious English country estate with a medieval manor house, ideal for back-to-nature, activity, creative, spiritual and wellness retreats
Available on request
IN A NUTSHELL
Set on a beautiful 1,200-acre estate nestled into the River Dart in south Devon, Dartington offers an expansive retreat space which ranges from yoga and meditation studios to grand function rooms. The Trust includes Dartington Arts School and Schumacher College – a progressive centre for ecology studies – and has all types of accommodation, from single collegiate-style rooms to en-suite courtyard bedrooms. With abundant wildlife thanks to a regenerative approach to land management, many acres of forest and miles of walking and running trails, 25 acres of grade II-listed gardens and the largest medieval manor house in the west of England, plus a focus on local and sustainable food, Dartington offers the perfect backdrop to walks and wellness activities with nature immersion in mind. Nearby you'll find the historic town of Totnes, with its host of independent shops and vibrant food scene, and the pretty South Hams – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty peppered with beautiful beaches and jaw-dropping views.
INDOOR RETREAT SPACES
Across the estate, you'll find several multi-disciplinary studio spaces, ideal for yoga, meditation and fitness workouts. There are also heritage function rooms, including the medieval Great Hall, which are more suited to meditation and mindfulness activities.
OUTDOOR RETREAT SPACES
The gardens and wider estate are perfect for those who want to reconnect with nature and the great outdoors. In the grade II-listed gardens you'll find beautiful vistas and creative sculptures, as well as ancient trees and impressive plant species, while the wider estate has many miles of woodland walks, river paths and open meadows to explore. There are two forest school sites and many points of access to the River Dart, with group SUP, kayak and canoe rental available on site. Quiet spots can be found in the Japanese-style meditation garden, the various woodlands and Hazelip, a smaller garden with a seating area by a small pond.
Bedrooms in varying size, shape and comfort level are available, and include suites, deluxe, superior, family, double, twin and single rooms. They range from 123 clean and simple hostel-style college rooms, with shared bathrooms, to Dartington Courtyard Rooms which offer cosy B&B accommodation - seven Courtyard rooms have a private bathroom. There are no TVs in the accommodation areas.
The hostel-style rooms have a communal kitchenette, while The Courtyard rooms have access to two guest lounges. The Barn Cinema is a converted 14th century barn set in a medieval courtyard.
As well as using the halls, function rooms and studios for yoga and meditation, the estate lends itself to activities such as forest bathing, foraging and bushcraft. You can also kayak or canoe on the River Dart. Dartington village is a 15-minute walk from the estate, while the town of Totnes is a half hour walk away.
Local seasonal produce and British cuisine is served at the eateries and vegans, vegetarians and people with allergies can be catered for. Head to The Green Table for cake and coffee, afternoon tea, and daily changing hot and cold menus. Or try out The White Hart which is nestled alongside the medieval Great Hall under the bowers of ancient trees. Here you can choose a table in the grand feasting hall under a dramatic 60-foot beamed ceiling, in the cosy snug area or out on the gorgeous Great Lawn terrace, where you'll be served locally-sourced lunches and dinners full of flavour, and freshly prepared by dedicated chefs. The Cider Press Centre has food and drink options, along with locally-made treats from The Food Shop and Bayards Kitchen.
Dartington Trust is continuing to reduce waste, re-use and re-cycle. There are seven biomass boilers on the estate and a 500kh (p) solar array providing about a third of the estate’s electricity needs. Surplus produce from the gardens is given to Food in Community, a local charity providing food for people on a low income. Waste food is composted both on site and at a nearby specialist facility. Food outlets use Eden Ware or Veg Ware which is 100 per cent compostable. Washing and cleaning products are Ecover or Ecolab. More than half of the food provided, such as fruit, vegetables, salads and pulses, is grown on the estate by the Sustainable Horticulture students. Other food is sourced from local producers in the South Devon area where possible.
The glorious estate offering greenery for as far as the eye can see.
The Less Than Ordinary
Not many rooms have en-suite bathrooms - you'll probably have to share.