Buddhafield Retreats

Frequently Asked Questions

Retreats

General

What is a Buddhafield Retreat like?

Buddhafield retreats take place under canvas and vast open skies, in gorgeous fields and woodlands. We have two pieces of land in Devon where we hold events and then, for some events we go to other places – typically in the southwest. We also have our walking retreats or Yatra – more information on these below.

A retreat is an opportunity to step aside from everyday life, giving yourself the time and space to meditate, reflect and connect. This allows a natural unfolding of beauty, both within and without. Temporary communities are born, all facilitated by experienced teachers and support teams.

We provide three delicious, vegan meals per day as well as hot drinks and hot water.

Retreat days typically start with meditation and then may include Dharma talks, body work, rituals and other offerings throughout the day such as check-ins or perhaps meditation reviews. The exact timetable varies from event to event. Most adult retreats have periods of silence throughout the day. On some retreats, these can cover large time periods – sometimes days at a time.

We normally have a short work period as well that is integral to the retreat and brings everyone together in a co-creative way.

The facilities are rustic and basic – all of this contributes to the rejuvenating feeling of being out in nature and living very close to the land.

We ask retreatants to refrain from sexual activity, and from bringing drugs or alcohol to any of our events.

Is the retreat suitable for me if I am.... ?

The booking page for each retreat details the experience level required as well as any other requirements – like fitness level for a Yatra, for example.

Accessibility questions are addressed below.

If you have any other questions, please contact us.

Do I have enough experience for this retreat?

Please check each individual page for the required experience level. If you are not sure, you can always contact us.

Will there be bodywork on this retreat?

Many retreats include some body work such as yoga, tai chi or other practice. Details of these are included on each event page.

What is the work period and what work will need doing?

Each retreat has a team who are working to create the experience. At various times, the work needs some input from retreatants – typical work might include veg chopping, washing up, wood chopping, taking care of certain spaces and so on.

We try to find the right fit for each person and there will be someone you can speak to if you feel like one job or another will be more suitable.

We are mindful of the fact that some people may not be able to complete a work period – either at all or at some times during the retreat – and we can support this. Please feel free to just let us know.

Can I have a fire?

There is usually a communal fire where people gather to be together and keep warm. You can have your own fire – it needs to be off the ground. Please let the retreat manager know whenever you are intending to have your own fire.

How do I keep warm?

Our season typically runs from April to October. It can be chilly at any point in that time but particularly at either end. Tips for keeping warm include having good insulation beneath you when camping as well as plenty of layers on top, wearing a hat to sleep in and bringing one or two hot water bottles. The latter can be topped up from the communal urn before you snuggle down for the night.

Can I bring my dog?

Unfortunately, we cannot welcome dogs to our retreats. Please find someone to care for your lovely animals while you are away.

What about COVID?

We can't know yet what, if any, restrictions will be in place in 2022. We will always adhere to the latest guidance and get in touch if we believe anything about your retreat will be seriously impacted by this. If we need to cancel or postpone, we typically offer a refund or transfer to another event.

Booking

Can you explain the deposit / dana system? How do I pay?

On booking, we take a non-refundable deposit. At the end of each retreat, we ask retreatants to offer Dana (lit. 'the practice of cultivating generosity' but commonly used to mean something like a donation). This can be done via cash, cheque or online. Three suggested donation amounts are detailed on each event page:

  • Donation tier – includes an extra donation which goes to support others who need to pay at the supported tier level.

  • Standard – these cover the costs involved in the retreat.

  • Supported – we want to make tickets accessible for all. These tickets are subsidised to help that happen.

Ultimately, we want you to be able to give with joy, so please give what feels right for you.

Can I pay in instalments?

Unfortunately, we are not set up to take payment in instalments.

Can I cancel my place / get a refund / transfer my deposit?

Deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to attend a retreat so that your place can be offered to others. Even if we fill the place, we cannot offer refunds and ask that you consider your deposit as a donation to fund the running of Buddhafield.

Special circumstances which might mean an exception to the above are considered on a case-by-case basis. If this applies to you, please contact us.

When will I get more information about the retreat?

Final details are typically sent out in the final weeks before the retreat takes place. This could include pick up details for those coming by public transport, kit lists, other items to bring for ritual etc. It will also include the retreat phone number which is checked every day from arrival day until the end. This is the number you can give as an emergency contact so you can disconnect from your phone during the retreat.

This retreat is full – do you have a waiting list?

We do hold waiting lists for our retreats so please contact us to be added. If you know you are no longer able to come, it's really helpful if you remember to let us know to take you off the list. Experience tells us that any people who drop out of a retreat typically do so in the last few weeks so wait list places often go to those who are able to attend at short notice.

Travel & transport

Do I need a vehicle pass?

Yes please – we need each vehicle on site to have a pass. This further supports our retreat and land work throughout the year. It also helps us to manage space on site as there is limited space for both cars and live-ins at most of our sites. Vehicle passes can be purchased separately. Please do not bring a vehicle if the relevant vehicle pass is sold out as we will not have the room for it.

Can I bring a live-in vehicle?

Yes – you can. Please buy the appropriate vehicle pass for your vehicle length. We have limited live in space so may need to close live-in bookings if we run out. You would need to camp in order to attend if this is the case.

When will I get directions to the retreat?

We will send out directions to each site in the final details email.

Where is the nearest train station or bus stop?

If you are getting public transport and need to book your transport, you will find details of the train station or bus stop that we pick up from on the event page for your retreat.

Do you pick up from the nearest train station or bus stop?

Yes, we do. We ask that you arrive between 1pm and 5pm on the arrival day. The final details email will contain the retreat phone number. You can let us know that you need a lift by contacting this number or by emailing information@buddhafield.com when you have your arrival time. The phone is not checked until the arrival day so you may not get a response until then. Please use the phone number ONLY on arrival day if you are delayed – emails may not be picked up on time to help.

Where can I arrange a liftshare?

We have a lift share page on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/buddhafieldliftshare. Unfortunately, we don't have the resources to arrange lifts in other ways and we cannot pass on the details of people who live nearby.

When do I need to arrive?

Please plan to arrive between 1pm and 5pm on the first day of the retreat. The first meal is dinner at around 6pm. The exception to this is the Yatra – see below.

When does the retreat finish?

The last meal is lunch on the last day around 1pm. The retreat is usually formally closed before this. If you have a long way to travel, it is fine if you need to leave before lunch. The exception to this is the Yatra – see below.

Can I come for part of the retreat / arrive early / leave late?

No – please plan to come for the whole event in order to preserve the integrity of the retreat.

What is the daily schedule on your retreats?

Each retreat is different. However, the first meditation is often around 7am. Meals are at around 8am, 1pm and 6pm. The work period changes depending on what you are doing – veg chop is before the meals, for example, whereas wash up is after. Other events, meditation and so on are spread throughout the day.

Food and facilities

Can you accommodate my dietary requirements?

We can accommodate medical dietary requirements. Special diet meals typically consist of simple food such as a grain and a selection of veg. If you feel you will need more to supplement this, please do bring it along with you.

Are meals included?

All meals are provided on the retreat. There is no extra charge.

What is the accommodation like?

Our retreats are outdoors so the accommodation is in your own live in vehicle or tent.

Can I park next to my tent?

Not on any of the sites that we currently use. There is a short walk between the car park and the camping areas so please plan for this.

What equipment will I need?

The basics include:

  • tent and camping set up if applicable

  • all weather gear – especially wellies, a coat and warm things. Please note that the weather can change quickly in the southwest and so even if the weather is forecast as warm and bright, you are advised to bring the kit required for summer showers.

  • blanket, meditation kit and yoga mat – we will have some available as well

  • sunscreen

  • head torch – there is no night lighting on any of the sites

  • plate, bowl, cutlery, mug, water bottle

  • blankets and hot water bottle – especially early or late in the season

Do you provide tents?

No – please bring your own. We do not offer any glamping or pre-erected tents.

What are the facilities for washing / showering?

We offer hot, outdoor showers. It's a basic set up and the water is wood-fire heated. This sometimes places restrictions on when you can have a shower but there will be daily opportunities. There are handwashing facilities at various locations on the sites. The toilets are compost loos.

Can I charge my device / phone?

Our events are largely off-grid and so we cannot offer any charging. We strongly recommend that you let go of your phone / devices during your stay. If you absolutely need to use a device, please do this in your tent, vehicle or off site.

Other

Can I volunteer on one of the retreats?

The path to volunteering on retreats usually starts with attending one or two. This will give you a chance to see what they are like and to talk to members of the team. Once you have done this, you can let them know you are interested in volunteering and stay in touch.

Yatra-specific

Is the Yatra one way?

Yes – the Yatra is usually one way. We suggest that you get public transport to the start and from the end. The start and end points are detailed on the event page. However, some people either drive to the end and get public transport to the start or the other way around.

How long is the Yatra?

The Yatra dates are on the event. It starts promptly from a train station on the first day – usually around midday. The final day's walk will take you to the end point around 11am and will finish with lunch. The support vehicle will then get people and/or their luggage to the nearest public transport.

Do I carry my equipment on the Yatra?

You will need a small day pack to carry during the day. Your other equipment will be carried by the support vehicle to the next campsite each day.

What level of fitness is required?

You need to be able to walk between 8 and 15 miles per day.

Family-retreat focused

What are the kids' activities at the family-friendly retreats?

We have four family-friendly retreat events. Each has a different feel and level of child-focused activity.

Village 1

This is a working retreat. Children over the age of 7 are welcome and included. However, they need to be self-sufficient in fields with not much set up at the beginning. There is a stream, plenty of space and trees to play with.

Village 2

This retreat offers a range of activities for different age ranges – toddlers, 5-10 year-olds, 11-12 year olds (BOBs – betweeners of Buddhafield – not quite kids, not quite teenagers) and teens. These might include – art sessions, games, crafts, puppet shows, talks and so on.

Activities are always offered during the morning kula period to give parents a chance to attend the kula sessions while their children are occupied. For toddlers, kulas take place in the toddler area and a team supports the children during this time whilst also allowing them access to their parents whenever they need.

Other activities might take place at other times in the day – schedules are posted daily.

BOBs are offered the chance to go on the Independence day challenge during the retreat – a supervised, day-long walk on Dartmoor with wild swimming and treats at the end.

Teens have their own tepee and activities supported by the teen team.

Buddhafield Southeast Spring & Autumn

This is a low-key, woodland, family retreat where the entertainment is provided by the community and the woods. While we usually organise some games and welcome children at all the meditations, talks etc., the feel in general is quite unstructured to allow time for creativity and spontaneity.

Do I have to do the work period if I have young kids / my children need me / etc.?

We are very mindful that having your children on retreat already involves a certain amount of work. We ask you to choose work-types that might work for you during the booking process and do our best to make sure you get your first or second choice. Ultimately, if you are unable to be at the work period, we completely understand and it's ok. It's great if you can let us know if you think this will be a retreat-long situation.

Accessibility-focused questions

Many of the common questions are answered below. However, please do get in touch if you have any other questions. We want to encourage people to access our retreats and can provide support if needed. If any of these things apply to you and you want to talk it through, contact us and we'll see what creative solutions are possible.

Also, some people feel more comfortable if they have articulated their needs or specific situation before arriving somewhere – even if they are aiming to be independent. If you want to do that and it isn't covered in the booking form, please do contact us and your information will be passed to the retreat leader.

Is there accessible camping?

Camping is in various areas on different sites. We don't have a specific accessible camping area.

How far is it from the car park to the camping area?

We can get you quite close to the nearest camping on most sites but none of the camping areas are next to accessible via vehicle. There are camping areas that are farther away from the car park and main area that take longer/ are trickier to get to.

Particularly at Bowerwood, you may want to request that we keep a space for you in one of the camping areas that is nearer.

Will there be someone available to help with my setup?

Yes – if you need help with putting up your tent, we can get team members to do that.

Is there power for charging electric / power-assisted wheelchair batteries?

Unfortunately, as we are off grid, we cannot offer charging for electric wheelchairs. If you check with the wheelchair provider or your local mobility support, sometimes they can recommend places in different areas of the country where wheelchair batteries can be charged.

Are there disabled toilets?

There are no separated disable toilets on the retreat sites. At Bowerwood, they are at ground level. However, at Frog Mill, there are steps up to the compost toilets.

If you intend to bring your own toilet, please note that we have no facilities for emptying chemical toilets.

Do you provide chairs for meditation?

We do try to supply different seating options. However, we cannot guarantee that we will have suitable chairs for everyone and so it's best to bring your own, where possible.

Is there a place I can refrigerate my medication?

We have no refrigeration facilities at any of our sites.

Is the ground suitable for an electric / power-assisted wheelchair?

The terrain is generally accessible for wheelchairs and mobility vehicles. In some cases, the accessibility might be dependent on the type of vehicle and tyres. Please get in touch to discuss this further. If the weather is rainy over an extended period of time, the ground can become soggy / churned up and thus create much more difficulty.

Is sign language provided for talks?

We do not have any sign language provision planned at retreats for 2022.

Can I bring my carer?

We welcome carers. They would be subject to the retreat conditions so they would need to be comfortable with that. Please book them a place and pay the deposit. This will go towards our costs – no further donation is requested for carers.