AD. WELLNESS RETREAT – SWINTON BIVOUAC
I was invited to stay at the Swinton Estate for a wellness break. I am not sure I realised at the time that the break in a North Yorkshire spa would involve a digital detox. A digital detox is one of those things that I know would be helpful and good to do at some point but not something that I had ever looked into. We often have evenings with no electronics but three days with no phone scared me. Along with the descriptions of ‘we recommend no alcohol or caffeine’ I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. As I arrived down a country lane I could see yurts on the horizon. I was in the right place which was good as I am not sure I could manage going back down the track so soon. The route had been surrounded by chocolate box type cottages and rolling fields. This opened out again with beautiful views as far as I could see. My word. When I arrived in the tree house I was amazed at the place. I was thinking basic shed like existence would become me. It is not at all shed like.
Set on the edge of the moors in the Yorkshire Dales just outside of Masham the site has six tree lodges and seven yurts. This truly is luxury glamping in Yorkshire.
I hadn’t realised that the retreat would include a whole tree lodge to myself. The lodges are really spacious and comfortably sleep seven.
They are in the woods down a little path. There is plenty of space between the lodges and they all overlook a field. If you stay in the lodge you can drive up really close to them and leave your car there. It was a great location and really quiet. I didn’t feel like I was sleeping alone in the woods, the doors all lock securely and with the fire on it felt safe and cozy.
The lodge was super cozy and the fire had been made ready to light. There was everything I could have needed – coffee and tea were also provided for our arrival and milk.
Never one to miss it on a cup of coffee I lit the stove and enjoyed a cup of coffee on the porch. What a view.
There is no electric in the lodge but there are plenty of candles and a torch for light and a stove for heat. There was hot running water and pretty fairy lights around the beams. It was very pretty.
Each day there was an itinerary of activities which included time to relax and soak up the books and literature that was available with a focus on wellbeing. After checking into the tree lodge we were treated to a sound bath with Gill McCreadie. A lovely way to relax. Sound waves are absorbed into the body whilst we lay on beanbags.
The second day started with a sunrise woodland walk with Faith Douglas. I was a bit apprehensive about the 6am start but the weather was kind to us and it was a great way to start the day. Hearing the birds and really taking time to look around whilst the sun came out was a good way to start the day. By the time we got back to the lodge we had our breakfast delivered before we were treated to a trip to the spa on the Swinton Estate. The spa is one of the leading spa destinations in the uk. I had not realised how big the spa was and the range of facilities including a large pool, thermal facilities and a range of treatments. For the brave there is an outdoor pool which is bio-filtered and oxygenated chemical free water – it was a little chilly for me but a good experience on a early autumn day. There are plenty of loungers all around the spa and all have a butler service! The thermal suite was full of areas to relax, a therapeutic foot spa, steam bath, salt steam room and Finnish sauna as well as an alfresco sauna. We spent two hours there on day two and then there is the opportunity to return at the end of the retreat. Unlike other spas locally it was not crowded and felt really calming.
After another delicious meal we were back in the forest with Faith for a silent forest walk. I was quite worried about my ability to be silent for two hours – it was touch and go at times when I tripped and almost impulsively made a noise and on another occasion when we came across another group in the forest. The woodland and setting is perfect for deducting stress levels and soaking up the setting in mindful way. To be out for a walk without having to worry or be responsible for anyone else. No naughty dog to call back or child to tell to be careful. It felt so tranquil and peaceful – the views were stunning!
After our evening meal we were went up to sit around a camp fire and experience reiki drumming – I had never experience it before but would defiantly recommend.
The food was absolutely phenomenal. Three course meals including wild mushroom tagliatelle, beetroot and falafel wrap and vegan cottage pie with blackberry and almond tart to follow with the estates harvest making for fresh delicious foods. All the food was vegetarian with the options for various dietary needs to be met. The interiors of the lodges and the social areas were lovely. All meals were included and there was also hot drinks available in the long barn.
I had an amazing time and would love to go again. I am already checking my diary to see when we can get booked in as a family as it would be a great base for a family weekend in the dales. My favorite part was walking in the forest, thinking about the here and now and the scenery was a lovely way to wake up. That is followed closely by the spa and being cooked for. Absolute bliss!!
I am going to write another blog post with more detail about the digital detox – it feels like it has had more of an impact than I first thought.
The next wellness retreat is on the 21-23rd June 2020. Costs are £279.50 per person based on two people sharing.
Have a look at the website for a range of activities and events in the meantime.