Settle into summer with energising and deeply relaxing yoga sessions, learning to listen to your body and how it wants to move to feel stronger and healthier. Begin your day with a barefoot movement practice on the lawn and join in with outdoor meditation and mindfulness sessions. Enjoy afternoon walks in beautiful surroundings with expert guides, exploring the special landscape of the Quantock Hills (see the detailed programme below).
Join yoga teacher and artist Tracey Roberts and guest walk leaders, in a week to reconnect to the land around you and your own sense of wellbeing. We’ll be outside as much as possible, so if you enjoy being creative bring your sketching kit or journal as there’ll be opportunities to pause and connect with the landscape in a mindful way. Or you can choose to stride out and simply breathe in the fresh air of this special place.
There’ll be good nourishing food, time for solitude and also for socialising and fun.
All the sessions are optional, so you can do as much or as little as you want. Beginners to yoga are very welcome.
Bring along your yoga mat (if you have one) and loose comfortable yoga clothes, a journal or your sketch book and your walking boots, and be prepared to leave feeling calm, refreshed and ready to face the world again.
Outline Programme (Updated April 2019)
Monday: Arrive from 4pm, dinner at 6.30pm. Followed at 8pm by a gentle movement practice to relax and release from your journey.
8.00 Morning wake-up sequence, on the lawn
10.00 Yoga practice
12.00 Coffee break
12.30 Meditation/mindfulness session, outdoors (weather permitting)
2.00 Afternoon walks, with opportunities to take a leisurely pace and do some sketching or journalling, or to enjoy a longer, brisker walk.
Tuesday: Staple Plain with Tracey, exploring the panoramic views from Beacon Hill and beautiful Vinny Combe and Weacombe Combe. There’ll also be options to do a short walk and this is an ideal landscape for sketching or just sitting and taking in the views. Or enjoy the full two-hours through woodland and up to the trip point.
Wednesday: Learn the art of Natural Navigation with Patrick Watts-Mabbott at Dead Woman’s Ditch. This will be a ‘wandering walk’ through varied habitats, learning how to read the landscape and sky and the behaviour of plants, trees and animals, to navigate your way in the wild.
Thursday: Nan Ward will share her passion for Quantock flora and fauna on a circular walk from Halsway to Bicknoller. For those who’d like to, Tracey will lead an alternative sketching and photography walk at a more leisurely pace.
5.00 Free time
8.00 Evening meditation/relaxation session
Friday: Breakfast and farewells.
Who’s it For?
The yoga practices will be exploratory, mindful, nurturing and fun. Everyone works at their own level, so sessions are suitable for all, from beginners to those with an established practice. We’ll explore yoga movements, breathing practices, relaxation techniques and meditation.
The afternoon walks will be fun and tailored to meet the requirements and abilities of the group, but a reasonable fitness level is required as even short walks may include steep climbs. Car sharing will be necessary for some of the walks.
Tracey Roberts is British Wheel of Yoga qualified and has been teaching since 2008. Her teaching focuses on self-inquiry – exploring creative, intuitive, natural movement, alongside breath-awareness, meditation and embodiment practices. She is interested in how a yoga practice that improves the natural functioning of the body and observational capacity of the mind can help us live more comfortably and happily in the world. She encourages exploration and an individualised approach which is both playful and confidence-building.
Tracey is also an enthusiastic walker and sketcher of the great outdoors. Originally trained in the visual arts, she spent 28 years working in the arts as a practitioner, trainer and mentor, nurturing people’s creativity. www.traceyrobertsyoga.wordpress.com
Patrick Watts-Mabbott was born and raised on the Quantock Hills, studied countryside and rural resource management at the local college and at Seale-Hayne in Devon. He has worked for Exmoor National park for nearly 20 years as a Ranger and more recently as a Volunteer and Outreach Officer. As part of this role he trains volunteers to survey the local wildlife including dormice, fungi, otters and invasive species such as signal crayfish and invasive plants.
On the Natural Navigation walk we will look at the habits of both animals and plants to live and grow according to prevailing weather conditions and direction of the sun and how this can be used to help navigate through the landscape. We will also discuss other techniques using moon phases, the position and movement of stars and the sun to determine the points of the compass.
Nan Ward is a regular walk leader for Halsway Manor and helps run the Dancing and Walking Week each spring. She has lived for many years in a small hamlet on the Quantocks and loves sharing her knowledge and passion for the local landscape.