Slow Nature Wild Words … Fri 15 Nov – Sun 17 Nov 2013…  A rural writing retreat

Slow Nature Wild Words … Fri 15 Nov – Sun 17 Nov 2013… A rural writing retreat

Slow Nature Wild Words

The Gara Valley

Fri 15 Nov – Sun 17 Nov 2013
A residential rural writing weekend in the heart of the unspoilt Gara Valley in south Devon close to Slapton Sands.

Exploring our natural processes of creation and writing in response to our felt sense of nature in thirteen acres of unspoilt coastal valley that’s virtually untouched by the modern world.  Far from the madding crowd away from the white noise of TV, mobiles and WiFi, time and space to attune to natural rhythms.

  • James Crowden inspiring words as we walk the byways of the Gara Valley
  • new ways of creative expression through the resonance of woods, winds, walks and water
  • footscapes, landscapes, soundscapes, wordscapes
  • space to unearth lost, found, forgotten, new & old rhythms
  • sessions on raw & found materials, creating across disciplines, collaborative writing…
  • nourishment for creativity, body, spirit and soul
  • Full programme here

A room of one’s own in shared old stone cottages that are part of an historic 18th Century former watermill at Watermill Cottages, Hansel, nr Slapton, Dartmouth, South Devon TQ6 0LN. 

Watermill Cottages

Click the link for full details of the glorious setting at Watermill Cottages in the Gara Valley.

Just 12 places. Residential, two days and nights, all food, accommodation and tuition.

Check-in 15:00 Friday and checkout by 18:00 Sunday – or stay longer if your fancy takes you, just ask.

Biographies here for leaders and facilitators.

To book or for more information please email or call Christine on 01803 770219

Or take a look at Slow Nature WIld Words website   

Higher North Mill
A Left Bank event with Watermill Cottages


Dartmouth Food Festival 25-27 October 2013

Dartmouth Food Festival 25-27 October 2013

 oh yes! From Friday 25 October to Sunday 27th October a feast by the tidal Dart in Dartmouth, its restaurants and yacht clubs.
Food stalls, cookery demos, dining events showcasing the best that the Dartmouth area and south west can offer, including with renowned Dartmouth chef Mitch Tonks

Here are some of the highlights –  the full festival programme has all the juicy detail.

Eat Your Words 
A Series of In-Conversations with Food and Cookery Writers at Dartmouth Yacht Club on the South

How do you explain to a reader what a tender, juicy leg of lamb tastes like, or describe the aroma of a crisp, dry glass of Riesling? How do you use words to communicate such sensory experiences?

Food and wine are some of the most difficult subjects to write about, but have also produced some of our richest writing.  Listen to renowned food and cookery writers and experts in their fields chat about why food writing matters, why we all love to read it, and what we really write about when we write about food

Drinks Tastings and Seminars featuring local wines, beers and ciders

Workshops with Manna from Devon cookery school  how to dress a crab, cook a perfect steak, decorate cupcakes and more

Stay at Watermill Cottages, enjoy the food fest and press apples with us on Sunday afternoon (27th October), we’ve hired the huge oak apple press from Orchardlink – fresh-pressed apple juice straight from the press.

Watermill Cottages on Tripadvisor

Watermill Cottages on Tripadvisor

And we’ve joined Tripadvisor (as well as facebook and twitter) …

We’re  listed as Watermill Cottages, Slapton, Devon if you’d like to have a look or write anything, and so far we have 11 reviews. 

Here’s a couple of them…

Quack, quack, quack!”

5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 September 2013
‘Me, my Mum and dog stayed stayed in Quack cottage for 5 days and had the most wonderful time. The cottages are in such a rural setting but not too far away (driving distance) from lots of beautiful towns and beaches (some dog friendly all year).
We were welcomed by lovely Jade, gorgeous cake and dog treats and flowers from the garden too. We felt so welcome and what a great start to our holiday.
The cottage is equipped with everything we needed and more. The garden is massive with the lovely ducks saying hello everyday!
It was a welcome break from the internet, tele and mobile phones and we thoroughly enjoyed cooking, knitting and chatting the nights away! ‘

“Down the rabbit hole”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 12 May 2013
‘Remember how Alice goes down a rabbit hole in Wonderland and finds a magical place unlike any other? Well, when we go to Watermill Cottages (twice so far in one year and another in the planning), we feel it is a bit like that. No wifi, no TV, no traffic noise. Just the rush of the stream and the birdsong, the animals and silence. This is the kind of place that inspired WH Davies to write his poem, Leisure… “What is this world if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare…” Here, we slough off the dry skin of the ‘real world’ and bask in the bliss of how things used to be and should be. From the great fish and chips in Slapton, to the farm shop with real, hung, beef, the Pig’s Nose pub where you can help yourself to knitting needles and wool after a bracing coastal walk. Beware. If you ever visit Watermill Cottages, you may get addicted….

“All cottages are great, but Crownwheel is closest to the water, Quack has the cutest name and garden, Rose has the highest terrace and Barleycorn is closest to the mill itself.” ‘

Thank you for your kind words everyone …

Perfect October short walk

Perfect October short walk

Oh what a beautiful day! 
Perfect October Indian Summer, and a perfect Devon walk from Slapton to Torcross, along the beach there and along the shore of Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve on the way back.

The contrast of crunching on pebbles with silently padding over rich, reedy, soft loam; salt sea and musty marsh edge with reeds whispering in softer waves than at the shoreline.  Cicadas still in the grasses …

It was hot and sunny, a breeze to refresh but not to chill, and the sloping October afternoon light gifted fabulous colours.

And just a five-seven minute drive from the valley tranquillity of Watermill Cottages.  The Gara Brook runs through our land and feeds into the Higher Ley, which is why we’re so careful about what happens to our water and land.

Higher Ley
Lower Ley

This is a level walk apart from the slight slope from the free Slapton Park and Walk car park, on the right as you leave the village and head to the sea, and is beach/shingle one side so not great for pushing wheels of any kind.  There are loos at the memorial car park five minutes from Slapton and at Torcross which has a village shop, tea rooms, restaurant & pub.  And the tank of course…  and a seat with a view over the Ley by the Slapton Ley sign – this is another nature-rich diversion.

Start Bay towards Strete Gate and Dartmouth

This walk forms a short stretch of the South West Coast path – you can continue beyond Torcross, over the crest to Beesands and Britannia on the beach fish shack/café and The Cricket Inn (dogs welcome in the bar). Or the other way, to Strete and Dartmouth – the bus route here runs regularly through the day so it’s easy to go one way (it doesn’t reach Beesands…).

Or you can walk a long loop from Watermill Cottages, up the 4WD track between Quack Cottage and Rose Cottage behind it, via Strete, the beach and Slapton.  Good refreshments on the way!

And the whole length of Slapton Sands from the flowery, grassier end at Strete Gate to the narrower beach at Torcross is dog-friendly all year round, all 3 1/4 miles of it! 

You can see why it’s designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Ley, sea and Torcross