The Land’s Wild Magic

‘The earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth.’ Chief Seattle



THE LAND’S WILD MAGIC: poetry, place & story
walking & writing residential retreat, St Just, West Cornwall


I’ve now offered four annual very rich and (I’m told) transformative and deepening retreats in this wild enchanted land, which offers so much in such a small geographical area. This week is now becoming a regular annual retreat like my Iona and Cévennes courses. Here in West Cornwall, we work mainly outdoors with the stories associated with this edge-place, and its many ancient, sacred and/or megalithic and coastal sites.

The far west of Cornwall, the little triangle between Penzance, St Ives and Land’s End, is one of those thin-veil places, an ‘edge-land’. This area has one of the densest concentrations of megalithic sites in Europe, and its atmosphere is magical and palpable. (My family from as far back as we know comes from there, and I’m so delighted to be offering retreats in West Cornwall again.)
This area, West Penwith, also has some of the most ancient stone-wall-bounded small fields in the country, some probably dating back to the late Stone Age.


Together we explore on foot the local ancient holy wells, stone circles, quoits, holed stones, hilltop carns, significant sites, coastpath and coves and their stories, after starting each day with some quiet writing and the inspiration of some poetry or prose in relation to place. We might see seals and dolphins; we’ll visit the Mermaid of Zennor.

This 5-day 6-night retreat week works with writing as a tool to explore and express our experiences. Our core focus is creativity, inspiration and poetic presence, bringing ourselves home to the whole experience.

A significant aspect is to do with the needs of the earth at this current time: not only how she can bring healing to us, but how we may help heal the fractures and dislocations that the human species has inflicted on her.

Through walking the poetry and the story of place, and ‘dwelling’ in the sacred sites, we experience a renewed and deepening sense of relationship and reconnection with the earth, her other-than-human inhabitants, and the sea and stones. We meet the earth and the elements on their terms rather than ours, going out in most weathers.

I notice (and they notice) that participants experience simultaneously both a powerful sense of quietening, and also of profound re-energising.

We’ll walk each day in shared silence, but there will also be guided writing exercises and discussion of our own and others’ writing, as well as my input as guide from lifelong knowledge of these ancient sites and their power.



If you are someone with a passion for poetry and story (you don’t need to be an experienced writer), for the outdoors, and for exploring our inner life, then I’d be delighted if you’d join us. I use an approach that has grown from my 40+ years of Zen mindfulness practice. It doesn’t matter whether you have any knowledge of any of this, and it’s not ‘in your face’.

You need to be fit enough to walk up to 4 miles or so at a time often on steep, slippery and stony clifftop coastpaths, and climbing over idiosyncratic Cornish stiles. You also need to be comfortable with silence.

You will need waterproofs, walking boots and probably wellies; sunscreen too; a water bottle. Some people bring staffs or trekking poles as the ground is often uneven and slippery. And – of course – writing materials.
NB you will need to attend the whole retreat

All my groups are warm, friendly and inspirational. You can see feedback on them here.


Participants are requested to help out with sharing cars to our sites.

BOOKINGS: This group is kept small. To guarantee you a place, I need £150 with your booking. The balance of £145 is due by 31st March 2019.
Please email me through this website.

The small print

* NB: I am committed to the venue even if you cancel, so please be aware that refunds (minus £50 admin/re-advertising) are only available up until the end of April, and then only if I fill your place. After that, no refunds are possible. You might want to consider travel insurance. Your booking is taken as an acceptance of this condition.
Clearly, if
I have to cancel for any reason your payment will be refunded in full.

Some of the feedback from previous years (people who’ve attended have had a very diverse range of experience & expectations, & have joined us from three continents & several countries):

‘I so loved this retreat’
‘…a magic week, thank you SO much. I got a lot out of it…’
‘Bless you, Roselle, such a wonderful time – a real anti-climax being home… I’ll move heaven and earth to come again next year’
‘Thank you for helping me find my core’
‘What an inspirational few days exploring West Penwith – wells, standing stones, fertility wheels and wonderful poetry. Thank you ever so much’
‘Dear Roselle – you have been such an inspiration to me – I wouldn’t have ever hoped to have such an organic and wonderful introduction to writing poetry’
‘Thank you for creating such a lovely ambience for us to work in. I really enjoyed it as I’m sure you realised and it was as creative a space for me as always, perhaps even more so this time.’
‘Many thanks. I dreamed of the granite and the sea last night – Cornwall has certainly become part of my dreaming self, and I have deep memories of our time together…’
‘Thanks, dear Roselle, for having us experience this space under your expert guidance’
‘This is what flying feels like / this buffeting of wings –
thank you for guiding the journey, Roselle’
‘[I] have found [my] heart’
‘As I said to you, the week exceeded my expectations. It felt very right to go, and I felt accepted, and privileged to be in such caring, supportive company with all the wealth of experience. The week was what I was looking for without knowing quite what I was looking for! I loved the connectivity and the wisdom of the group – in all of its guises – as well as touching the Land in such special ways. And it was transformative, but I don’t yet know quite how…’
‘The impact of Land’s Wild Magic in June continues for me personally and professionally – thank you so much!’

and some responded in poetry, which I won’t quote here to respect their creative privacy.