Who runs The Writing Retreat?
The retreat is co-hosted by Kath Morgan and Jane Moss, two working writers who are based in south Cornwall. We are both qualified tutors who have run numerous creative writing courses, workshops and retreats between us. We founded The Writing Retreat in 2014 because we wanted to create the kind of retreat experience we’d like to enjoy ourselves. And we do!
What happens during the week?
We plan each retreat to give you a good balance of time to write, workshops and tuition, and time to enjoy talking and sharing experiences with your fellow writers. When you arrive on the first afternoon we’ll show you round the house, then there’s usually a short workshop to introduce you to the week’s theme, followed by dinner and some further introductions to help you settle into the retreat.
After that, workshops take place each morning, followed by lunch, your own writing time and afternoon one to ones with us. All activities are optional; if you wish to stay in your room or find a quiet space in the house to write, or go out for walks, you can do that.
Evenings are our social time, with a guest author coming to talk to us midway through the week (or at the start of the week in the case of our 12-17 November retreat at Old Sawmills). After dinner on the final evening we invite our guests to read to us, if they would like to, then have a final round up and reflections on the week. We depart by 10.00am on Saturday, the last day.
What is a typical day like?
On a typical retreat day you can help yourself to breakfast from 7.30am until 9.00am; choose from our selection of breakfast ingredients in the kitchen or take breakfast back your room, as you wish. On a Rosemerryn retreat with workshops, these are held in the mornings from 9.30am-11.00am and from 11.30am-1.00pm, in the studio, with a mid-morning break for coffee and tea. On a Bosloe or Old Sawmills retreat we have shorter optional workshops after breakfast to provide inspiration for your writing day.
Lunch is from 1.00pm-2.00pm with a daily choice of our own home made soups and salads, and a variety of quiche, cold meats and pate or cheese (the choice varies each day). You can have lunch with your fellow guests or take something back to your room if you prefer. The afternoons are free for you to write, read, dream, explore the surroundings or take yourself off on a local adventure.
One to ones take place in the afternoons so you have plenty of opportunity for feedback and discussion of your writing with both of us. You can sign up for the one to ones when you arrive.
Dinner is at 7.00pm. We serve a delicious main course and dessert with wine, followed by cheese, Port, coffee and chocolates by the fire. After dinner we have a range of talks and readings, with time to chat and socialise; or you can have an early night or carry on writing in your room.
Should I bring my own snacks and drinks?
There is plenty to eat and drink on retreat but if you have a special favourite, do bring it along. At Rosemerryn the nearest village shop is more than a mile’s drive away and we can’t guarantee that they will stock something if you need it. The village shop closest to Bosloe is in Mawnan Smith, which is about a 20 minute walk. From Old Sawmills the nearest shop is a little further afield but we can place orders through the venue manager who will bring thing to us by mot launch if necessary and when the tides allow.
Do you cater for vegetarians?
Yes, we provide vegetarian alternatives as part of our menus. If you are a non-meat or fish eater, please let us know when you book so we can include vegetarian options.
How about food allergies?
We plan our menus in advance and bring all the ingredients with us to the retreat. If you have a food allergy or intolerance it is vital that you let us know when you book so that we can adjust the menus accordingly. In a few cases we may recommend that you bring your own special ingredients in case we have difficulty sourcing them locally.
Can I have my own room?
Yes, we think it is important to have ‘a room of my own’, unless you specifically want to share with a writing friend. We have a range of double and twin rooms, which you can spread out in or share if you are travelling with a writer friend or partner. There are writing tables in the rooms and other tables and spaces perfect for writing around the house.
Is my room en-suite?
We have some en suite rooms and others that have bath or shower rooms close by. The sooner you book the more likely you are to have an en-suite room, although we cannot guarantee it. We aim to allocate rooms on a first-come first-served basis, but we sometimes need to take other considerations, such as access, into account.
Can I bring a friend or partner?
If your friend or partner is a fellow writer who wants to come on retreat, then yes. You can book a room each or we have double and twin rooms that can be shared, so let us know your preference when you book. If your friend or partner is not interested in writing, we recommend you come on your own. You’ll have plenty of good company among your fellow writers.
Can I bring my dog?
Sorry, but your dog cannot come on retreat with you. We may be able to accommodate assistance dogs by arrangement with the venue, so please ask us.
Is there wifi?
There is free wifi at Rosmerryn, Bosloe and Old Sawmills. You should be able to connect to it automatically but we will provide the password when you arrive, just in case you need it.
Is there a mobile phone signal?
Mobile phone signals in Cornwall are a bit variable and most people (us included!) find that mobile reception is not available in the house. A stroll to the end of the drive or in parts of the garden in Rosmerryn or Bosloe will usually find a signal, depending on your network, but at Old Sawmills we recommend you use WhatsApp as the mobile signal is non-existent. We can relay messages to the venue manager if necessary, and she will contact people for us in an emergency.
At our Rosemerryn retreats we can provide a landline number for use in an emergency. This goes through to the owner’s house in the grounds nearby and they will be able to pass a message to you quickly if necessary. At Bosloe there is a pay phone in a nearby out-building. As at Old Sawmills, you may find that WhatsApp or email are more effective if you need to communicate with the outside world.
Is there a TV?
Yes, but it is not in use during the retreat. At Old Sawmills there are TVs in the bedrooms but we recommend you hang a towel over them or disconnect the aerial!
Can I park my car?
There is free car parking in the grounds of Rosemerryn and Bosloe. At Old Sawmills there are limited allocated parking spaces in Golant close to the qyau from which the motor lajnch will mee tyou to take you the short distance along the river to the house.
Is the house accessible?
At Rosemerryn there is a small step through the front door of the main house and access is then level from the hallway into the main living room, the kitchen and the two ground floor bedrooms. There is one step up into the cottage, then level access to the bedrooms, kitchen and living room, and one step down into the bathroom. There are three stone steps up into the studio where we hold our morning workshops. If you need assistance please let us know.
Bosloe is made up of three adjoining houses, with small steps up to the front doors of all three, then access is level throughout the ground floors. One of the houses, Chatham, includes a ground floor bedroom with fully adapted en suite bathroom and its own door to the outside, suitable for someone using a wheelchair. Of the other two houses, Bosveal has a ground floor single room with wet room and WC nearby, and Court has a downstairs double room with the same wet room and WC next door.
Old Sawmills can only be reached by motor boat (about 5 minutes on the water) or a twenty minute walk along the Saints’ Way footpath. There is no access by road. Once at the house, there are steps up to the conservatory entry and a path up to the front door.
Please ask us if you need advice about access to any of our venues and we will do our best to provide more details.
What writing materials should I bring?
Everyone has their personal preference but we recommend you bring a paper notebook and pens for the morning workshops, which include some practical writing exercises, and your laptop and charger. If you are coming from outside the UK remember to pack a three pin plug adapter to use in UK sockets.
Should I bring any books?
You are welcome to bring any books (as many as you can carry!) to help with your writing project; for example research materials and things you won’t be able to access online. We have a travelling library of books that comes with us that ncludes books about creative writing technique, books by our visiting authors, and other sources of inspiration. You are welcome to borrow these during the week.
Should I bring wellies?
We recommend you pack some waterpoof footwear and a waterproof coat or jacket. This is Cornwall… ;-).
Will I need a torch?
Yes, it’s worth bringing a torch in case you fancy stepping outside to admire the night sky and the grounds after dark. On one evening towards the end of the week we will dine at a local pub, and if you choose to walk there and back a torch is essential. At Rosemerryn and Bosloe we can arrange transport for those who prefer a lift; at Old Sawmills we may be able to go by boat, if the tides are in at the right time.
Are towels provided and should I bring a dressing gown?
Yes, towels are provided. If your room is en suite you probably don’t need to pack a dressing gown unless you want to, but the other bedrooms have bathrooms nearby or along a short passage way, so a dressing gown or something to pop on over your PJs would be useful.
Does my room have a hair dryer and kettle?
You won’t find a kettle or hair dryer in your room at Rosemerryn, but there are hairdryers in all rooms at Bosloe. You can pop to the kitchen to make a hot drink whenever you like.
How warm is the house?
We have wood burning fires and central heating throughout. The bedrooms have adjustable radiators and warm bedding, but if you want to bring an extra layer, please do so.
What else is there to do in the area?
At Rosemerryn, Lamorna Cove is a scenic beauty spot with historic artists studios and the coastal path running through it, about 30 minutes walk down a gentle sloping valley road. Cornish landmarks including St Michael’s Mount, Mousehole harbour, Sennen Cove, Land’s End and the famous Minack Theatre at Porthcurno are all short drives away. The ancient Merry Maidens stone circle is a mile up the hill, towards St Buryan (which has the nearest village shop). We recommend you explore the grounds of Rosemerryn by foot and look for the famous Boleigh fogou.
At Bosloe, you have free access to the neighbouring National Trust gardens at Glendurgan and the spectacular coastal path on the Helford river. The gardens have beautiful sea views and a host of paths and places to sit among flowering shrubs and the sub tropical plants that thrive in this part of Cornwall. The village of Mawnan Smith, less than a mile away, has a selection of shops, a pub and tea room, and the harbour town of Falmouth with its famous docks and beaches is a 15-20 minute drive.
At Old Sawmills you have the gardens to explore and woodland walks including the Saints’ Way. The walk to Golant takes about 20 minutes and the views along the wooded river are simply beautiful. If you have left your car in the village you could take the short drive into Fowey to explore one day if you fancy a change of scene.
Can I stay on for a holiday after the retreat ends?
Rosemerryn is available as a holiday let and B&B throughout the year. For details of how to book, visit Rosemerryn’s own website. The house and cottage play host to other retreats during the year, which are also on the website.
The properties that make up Bosloe – Bosveal, Chatham and Court – and the little Bothy in the grounds, are available to let for holidays through National Trust Holidays.
Old Sawmills is available to hire as a holiday home, and as a recording studio.
If you have questions that we haven’t answered here, please fill in the form below.