There’s nothing worse than getting up for a date. Especially one that you set your alarm for at 5:30 a.m. and walked 45 minutes in the drizzle before dawn to get it. But beavers are unpredictable creatures. Unpredictable but vital to the recovery of our waterways since Rebecca Cox learned when she traveled to Cabilla Cornwall in search of a Cornish yoga retreat and she left with a new understanding of the overgrown efforts that are transforming the agricultural landscape in North Cornwall. If you are looking for a wellness weekend that goes deeper than bamboo yoga leggings and grilled cauliflower, then (re-) pampering awaits you …
Cabilla Cornwall Wild Calm Retreat Review
“Rewilding” is just as overused in sustainability discussions as is “environmentally friendly” and is becoming less important in discussions about the future of rural Great Britain. Especially since some supporters of the movement completely exclude people. As many farms (for which humans are undoubtedly vital) are considering new ways to survive in an ever-changing landscape (both economically and environmentally), not all problems have short-term solutions. Because of this, Merlin and Lizzie, owners of Cabilla Cornwall, have developed a “Millennium Plan” to fully regenerate their own piece of England, including the ambitious expansion of their ancient oak forests. Another ambitious project involves the reintroduction of native species that are important for the regeneration and survival of British ecosystems; First the beaver. Along with yoga flows, sound baths, and all of the usual 2020s wellness vacation necessities, Cabillas Retreats offer the chance to get up at dawn and visit Sigourney Beaver and Jean Claude Van Dam, the resident beavers (plus their two descendants, Beavie Wonder) and Beavie Nicks), who were released last year after an on-site crowdfunding campaign. Except on our first visit, the beavers were a no-show.
Anyway, once you’ve stepped into Cabilla’s forests, it doesn’t take much persuasiveness to revisit, and so after a vinyasa flow, a plant-based feast, and a cocoa ceremony, we went back to sighting attempt number two, where we were beavers in action, busy with hers Dam and an early breakfast (they are at dusk) made of willow wood. Seeing these wonderful creatures at work was just one of the many unexpected highlights of Cabilla’s Wild Calm Retreat, launched in 2021 (and, with fine-tuning, planned as a regular event for 2022) to bring the farm back to life and to support the ambitious and numerous eco-restoration projects in the heart of Bodmin Moor.
A field full of cozy bell tents on the edge of the forest hosted retreat guests in 2021, but these will be replaced by wooden huts with wood stoves in 2022 to make their stay even more attractive. When you need plumbing to call a vacation vacation vacation, book The Keep, available through The Wanderlist, next to Cabilla Manor for a cozy, comfortable two bedroom cottage that’s the perfect base to explore the healing woods and walks of Explore Bodmin Moor whether you are there for a retreat or just passing through. An easy 10 minute walk from the Happy Camper and Barn Studio for yoga, meals, and more, you’ll be thankful for your hot shower and the right bed after a day of outdoor activities. Don’t forget to go home after sunset and enjoy the breathtaking night sky in this Dark Sky Area. Just keep your front door closed if you don’t want the chickens to come over for your morning cup of coffee.
In addition to nature hikes with Merlin, who will share his inspiring vision for Cabilla and the equally passionate hosts, the Cabilla Wild Calm Retreat is mainly led by yoga teacher Sorrel, who goes out of her way to make every guest feel like part of the Cabilla family during theirs Stay. The yoga flows are tailored to the group and the times are flexible to allow for lying down, getting up early, beaver no-shows, and impromptu tarot readings. It takes around 24 hours to completely shake off the London and relax in the swing of things and go with the flow of the group and get into and out of the schedule at will. Make sure you don’t dive out of the sound bath, however, a two hour healing sound journey that has to be seen (/ heard) to be believed. The session is apparently the physical equivalent of five hours of deep sleep, and you’ll likely get a solid eight hours more when finished.
You may think forest bathing is just a forest walk that has been renamed to sell vacations in places where it rains a lot. But when the woods are ancient oak forests with the mystical Cabilla Gate at their heart and a fast flowing river for paddling or bathing, the healing power of staying under the canopy is undeniable. This temperate rainforest is rich in colors, sounds, and life, and whether you connect all weekend with the borrowed cultural and spiritual practices expertly guided by Sorrel and Co., you will connect with the glorious nature that is you encounter in Cabilla, and with it emerge a new perspective (or at least an improved mood).
Speaking of improved mood: enter the meal times at Cabilla. Our meals were created by Kate Munro Boot, a menu designed in collaboration with Sorrel to reflect the chakras and themes of our wellness journey. The food was almost entirely plant-based, with lots of local, fresh seasonal produce, and there are plans to increase local input through improved relationships with surrounding farms and grocers over the next year. Think huge and beautifully presented platters of charred tofu and bok choi with coconut curry, black rice and a spicy salad with seasonal vegetables, or a roasted cauliflower platter with a flat zucchini from the farm next door and lemon balm that a guest gathered in nature walk. A vegan banoffee pudding with date caramel and coconut cream on the final night was only beaten by the cinnamon toasted pears served for breakfast (with apparent love from Kate).
THE LAST WORD
We came to Cabilla for a spiritual reset and yoga with healthy meals in a pretty barn studio punctuated by nature walks and the occasional meditation. But a weekend wild calm retreat is so much more. It turns out there are worse things than getting up for a date. Like the steady and creeping destruction of our ecosystems and the gradual extinction of our native species. But a couple of nights in Cabilla will show you that change for the better is possible. And besides, we can be part of it.
The keep at Cabilla Cornwall, Bodmin Moor, sleeps 4 | From £ 160 with a 2 night minimum stay for The Keep | Retreats start at £ 750pp | Book through The Wanderlist, a directory of unique stays in the UK | thewanderlist.uk
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