Holycombe has been a beautiful residential holistic retreat centre for the last twenty years but Sally and Andy are now retiring from hosting weekend retreats to make way for their burgeoning families, but continuing weekday classes, workshops and day and evening events.
Set in six acres, Holycombe rests in a verdant wooded valley on the edge of the Cotswold village of Whichford. A natural stream rises from a holy well in the nearby wood, passes though the grounds and down a waterfall. The sound of running water adds to the sense of peace and tranquillity. A coppice provides shady outdoor space; there's a campfire area and a large stone circle on the castle site. Across a meadow is the ancient Whichford wood with many rare species of trees and plants, an abundance of wood anemones, primroses and bluebells in spring; chestnuts, blackberries and sloes in autumn. Wildlife abounds:everything from Muntjack to polecats and kingfishers. Holycombe is built in the grounds of a Norman Castle, and has a water-filled moat, habitat for carp and dragonflies. Sally and Andy Birtwell rescued the site from 40 years of being a scrap yard, dedicating 6 years of their life to the restoration. They have built a beautiful house and garden to honour the sacred landscape. Archaeologists have excavated a Roman conduit carrying water from the springs in the wood to the site and dowsers and geomancers have suggested it was a sacred site before Roman the occupation. They also believe that six leylines converge on the stone circle.
The raison d'etre of Holycombe is first and foremost a family home for six children, and 13 grandchildren and we are now making that a priority again, but our aim is also to provide a haven for self-healing and joyful activities, and continue during weekdays, where music, dance, song, play, meditation and bodywork can renew energy and well-being.. (see our events page on the menu)
Therapies including Massage, Reflexology, Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, Art therapy, and Healing are all available in the Therapy Rooms. A large sunny space called The Angel Room for group activities opens out onto a terrace. On chilly days there is a log fire. A beautiful Garden Room for sharing meals and rose-scented terraces for eating al fresco overlook the pond and grass tennis court.Close to the site is our beautiful Glamping and Campsite www.cotswoldscamping.com where people can stay in one of our 4 yurts, airstream caravan, gypsy caravan and little Dutch cabin and take therapies or classes at the house.
Our inspiration for Holycombe was distilled from a multitude of life-experiences and places. Tolkein's description of Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings carries the essence of our vision: "... A perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure of weariness, fear and sadness.....here you will hear many songs and tales, but, except on high days, it usually stands empty and quiet and people come here who wish for peace and thought....... Such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds."
Because the spring from which our stream rises is called Holy Well we named our home in this beautiful valley Holycombe.