School of art & wellbeing | 14th to 17th June 2024

Nature Journaling & Wellbeing Retreat

Have you tried keeping a nature journal?
Want to learn about this creative way to engage with your local natural environment?
Want to learn how to slow down and settle into a deeper state of observation in nature?

How about a weekend away to learn nature journaling skills in a supportive group! Tuition by nature journaling educator and artist Alex Boon with mindfulness sessions led by meditation teacher Rachel Mann.

The location? The beautiful School of Art & Wellbeing, with an old cricket pavilion converted into a large, bright art studio, forest garden, walled vegetable garden, wildflower meadow, yurts, and polytunnel creative space.

Accomodation available onsite (to be booked separately).

Limited to 12 places

What can you expect?

FRIDAY 14TH JUNE: ARRIVAL AND INTRODUCTION

Arrival from 5 PM. Transport from Honiton station (1 mile from the school) can be provided.

An evening meal of homegrown salad, soup, and local bread will be provided for this first night (included in the retreat price).

Get to know each other over a meal followed by an introduction session, a tour of the grounds, and time to settle in and relax.

SATURDAY 15TH JUNE: NATURE JOURNALING SKILLS DAY

Morning self-practice yoga or other mindful movement (unguided), followed by guided meditation with Rachel. This led mindfulness session is intended to help us to shift from our active, rational, thinking brains to our creative, inspired and open minds.
 

The majority of Saturday will be filled with nature journaling techniques sessions. These will include drawing, painting, writing, and identification workshop sessions with plenty of time to practice and work on your skills either in the pavilion art studio or out in the grounds.

 

SUNDAY 16TH JUNE: NATURE-INSPIRED CREATIVITY DAY

Morning self-practice yoga or other mindful movement (unguided), followed by another guided meditation with Rachel.

Time to relax or start working on your contribution to our community nature journal, which will be set up in the polytunnel. This will be our group story of the weekend and the species we have recorded on the School of Art and Wellbeing grounds. It will include fresh and flower presses, contact prints, nature journal pages, writing, poetry, drawings, paintings, and anything else you would like to contribute. Photos from the community nature journal will be used to make a small keepsake book, which will be mailed to participants after the weekend.

Optional Sunday evening meditation session with Rachel will be a deep relaxation for a peaceful sleep, with calming sound to help your mind settle.

MONDAY 17TH JUNE: UNDERCLIFFS GUIDED WALK (OPTIONAL)

Early morning self-practice yoga or other mindful movement (unguided) before breakfast.

For those who choose to stay with us until Monday, there will be the chance to join Alex for a guided walk through the Undercliffs National Nature Reserve. Bring your nature journals to practice your newfound skills in the wild! This walk is included in the retreat price for anyone who would like to come. 

PLEASE NOTE that the Undercliffs is a strong walk with lots of ups and downs! Please ensure that you are sufficiently mobile to undertake this coast path walk – though there will be plenty of nature journaling stops. Transport to Seaton in the morning and back to School of Art & Wellbeing from Lyme Regis in the evening will be provided.

Your questions answered

Do I need to have any experience?

This weekend is designed for anybody who has a desire to experience nature first hand and creatively record it. This includes beginners to art, writing, and/or identification. All tuition will be provided, with plenty of one-to-one help to develop your own individual approach and methods. Bring your passion for nature along, the rest can come later.

What will I need?

Bring comfortable clothing for meditation and movement, outdoor clothing suited to the weather forecast and suitable footwear (hiking boots recommended) if you are coming on the Undercliffs walk. Ticks are present in the Undercliffs, so breathable long trousers and tops are recommended. All art materials and sketchbooks are provided although you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.

What about food?

We are keeping this retreat simple and encouraging community cooking. The first meal (Friday night) is included for all retreatants. All provided food is vegetarian, please bring your own if you prefer vegan or meat options. Breakfast is available in the house for £7 per day or you can bring your own. The Pavilion has a full kitchen and delicious home grown produce boxes will be provided as a part of the retreat cost. Additional food products can be purchased from Tesco (2 miles) or Honiton Town Centre (1.5 miles) or brought with you (we have a fridge and freezer!)  For those who would like to eat out, there are many great restaurant and pub options in our part of East Devon and recommendations will be sent out ahead of the retreat.

I don’t have a car or am international, what about transport?

We will help! Transport to and from Honiton train station will be provided free of charge. We will also transport walkers to Seaton for the Undercliffs walk and pick them up from Lyme Regis to return to School of Art & Wellbeing after the walk. The walk should be finished by 5PM on Monday 17th, though we don’t recommend a train time from Honiton earlier than 7, and a further night of accommodation is encouraged.

Tell me about the on-site accommodation options?

On-site accomodation is available, which should be booked directly with the School of Art & Wellbeing. The options comprise B&B in the house, glamping options and camping. Prices range from £80 (single occupancy) in the house to £10 a night for camping. Camper vans and motorhomes are welcome at the camping price. Facilities are available in the pavilion.

Any other questions? Email me via alex@alexboonart.com and I will do my best to help you.

About the tutors

Alex Boon

Alex Boon is an artist and nature journaling educator from East Devon, UK. He achieved a PhD in environmental science before working in postdoctoral research and scientific communication roles. Alex left academia, moved to the rural West Country, and started his first nature journal in 2016. 

He now teaches both online and in person workshops and courses and is active on YouTube and Instagram. His focus is making nature journaling encouraging and welcoming for anybody who wants to try it, an ethos he maintains in his Nature Journaling Circle online school and community.

Rachel Mann

Rachel is the founder of Devon and Dorset Meditation, which she set up with the simple aim of creating and supporting a community of people who would like to learn and practice meditation, bringing her skills and teaching to the local area around the Devon, Dorset and Somerset borders.

Meditation is a state of being. It allows us to rest in our true nature, to disregard all other distractions and so find a place of profound stillness in our bodies, thoughts and feelings – releasing and removing limiting assumptions that hold us back in areas of our life such as our creativity.

Book your place now

Looking forward to seeing you for a relaxing, creative weekend in East Devon this summer. You have the option of paying the full amount now or the deposit only. Please be aware that accommodation is to be booked separately as needed, via the link above, with our host Mary-Ann Wilmot.

Please note: Payment for the retreat is by either full amount including deposit or deposit only. the £100 deposit is non-refundable. if there is a major reason you cannot join us, email me and the £100 will be offered as credit for a future course or retreat. thank you!

Payment Option

Full amount – £285 (includes non-refundable £100 deposit), Deposit only – £100 (balance £185 to be paid by 01/05/2024)

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