Review: Retreats For You, Sheepwash, Devon
I recently made my third visit to Retreats For You, Sheepwash, North Devon. There's obviously a reason why I keep going back.
As you can see from the photo above, the building is a stunning 16th Century thatched house with all the character you would expect from something this old. There is a large fireplace with a wood burner, the occasional creaky floorboard or two, an original tiled floor in the kitchen and a courtyard at the back with flowers galore. It really is a great place to unwind and relax.
The retreat is owned by writer and TV presenter Debbie Flint and is essentially marketed as a "Writer's Retreat", however I am not a writer (blogging doesn't really count in this instance) and you don't need to be to stay here. There are specific themed weeks which you might want to steer clear of but plenty of other times available for us non-writers.
The location is quiet. Sheepwash has a population of about 250 (humans that is) and so it is ideal for getting some peace and tranquility and enjoying some great local walks. Debbie does have 2 chocolate labradors (Daisy & Gracie) who are more than happy to go "walkies" should you wish.
Part of the attraction for me is the fact it is Full Board, so you really don't need to think about what you are going to eat, as it is all provided for you. This even extends to "wine o'clock" at 6pm each evening where you will be asked - red or white? and given the wine of your choosing.
If you have particular food allergies or requests such as Dairy Free or Vegan etc you can still be catered for which makes it so much more inclusive.
Fresh bread is made daily and eggs & butter come from a nearby farm and yoghurt is also made fresh too.
The meals are varied and the produce is fresh and you never have the same evening meal twice, which I love. A mixture of hot meals and tasty salads to keep things varied, such as good old bangers and mash or a quiche salad with lentils, hummus, beetroot and crusty bread of course.
Every Wednesday throughout Spring and Summer the dining room is opened up as a Vintage Tea Rooms, selling tea, coffee, cakes etc to the public. Proper china cups and saucers along with homemade cakes await and it's usually a hive of activity with walkers, cyclists and village residents popping in. You'll even get to hear some great tunes from the 40's on proper vinyl records! Residents get to sample the cakes for free but I like to make a contribution to the Medical Detection Dogs charity, of which Debbie is an Ambassador and part of the reason for running the tearooms.
There are only 6 rooms at Retreats For You, which for me is also another important factor. You never feel crowded or overwhelmed and there is always plenty of space for everyone. You can also request the particular room you'd like to stay in, some are double and some single. All the rooms are individually named (all relating to people associated with the building) and some have en-suites. There is also a dog friendly room. The website has all the details www.retreatsforyou.co.uk
I chose the Martin Room (stayed in this room every time), which overlooks the square and has a double bed and en-suite. I have done a video of my room as I thought it was easier to use a visual.
I would definitely recommend Retreats For You as a great base for relaxing or for exploring (I had a couple of National Trust adventures whilst there) I drove down from Cheshire, as it is about 30 mins from the Oakehampton junction of the M5 and you have to navigate some narrow lanes, however you can get the train. The nearest station is 40 mins away in Exeter but that said there is a local taxi service that does pick ups, so you do have transport options to get there. It depends if you plan to go and about whilst there, in which case I really think you would need a car.
I enjoyed my stay, food was great and the atmosphere relaxing .... I was also lucky with the weather, what more do you need! 8/10