Holycombe is a beautiful residential holistic retreat centre, set 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.
Set in six acres, 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 numerous grandchildren but our aim is also to provide a haven for self-healing and joyful activities, a retreat where music, dance, song, play, meditation and bodywork can renew energy and well-being.
On weekday evenings there are regular classes such as Yoga, Pilates, and Circle Dance. (see our events page on the menu)
We have been running weekend residentials for 15 years and still have some of the same customers we began with. Many say there is no other place like Holycombe.
Therapies including Shiatsu, Reiki, Massage, Reflexology, Block clearance and hypnotherapy, kinesiology EFT, Acupuncture, Psychotherapy and Person Centred Counselling 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. We are a Residential venue and accommodation is available for up to 17 people in shared and single rooms with extra heated glamping spaces available and camping in our bell tents or bringing your own tent.
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 new home in this beautiful valley Holycombe.