What They’ve Said So Far…


Tutors/Guest Readers

‘Lovely to visit again and be so well fed.’ (Vidyan Ravinthiran, poet)

‘A revelation and a joy!’ (David Morley, poet)

‘Another wonderful week’s writing, walking and eating! What a treat to be here again! Thank you.’

(Hannah Vincent, writer)

‘A wonderful week, made possible by the hard work of participants and, of course, Hamish and Rebecca.’ (Simon Williams, poet)

‘Thank you for everything – lovely night of beautiful food and conversation.’ (Kim Moore, poet)

‘A really rewarding and enjoyable week; great poets, grand hosts and a really vibrant creative atmosphere. Plus I found a common sandpiper’s nest!’ (Steve Ely, poet)

‘Always a joy to come here, even in the rain. Food and company excellent.’ (Fleur Adcock, poet)

‘A week of long poems, the long river, the long silences of the night.’ (Andrew McMillan, poet)

‘One of the best weeks of my working life!’ (Jo Bell,poet)

‘Wonderful to be back – this is such a special, inspiring place. Thank you!’ (Zoe Strachan, writer)

‘I will be returning! Thank you for such wonderful hospitality, peace to work and fun!’ (Louise Welch, writer)

‘So wonderful to be back! Garsdale is an inspiration. Thank you.’ (Carol Farrelly, writer)

‘Wonderful to be back! A special place….’ (Sam Miller, writer)

‘Wonderful time, wonderful place, wonderful people, wonderful writing.’ (Catherine Simpson, writer)

‘Good poetry, good people, good food, good hospitality. Perfect!’ (Roger Robinson, poet)

Course Participants – 2019

‘This was a week that has broadened my horizons and stretched my waistline.’ (Caroline L)

‘Inspiration, laughter, good company and fabulous food – what more can a writer ask for? Thank you so much.’  (Julie C, Hartlepool)

‘Fabulous food, lovely company, great fun and lots of good writing. Thank you.’ (Annie H, Lancaster)

‘Oh the food, the food! But never worked so hard in my life!’ (Nuala T, Cambridge)

‘This has been such a nourishing and restful (and productive!!) time. Thank you so much. I’ll be back.’ (Penelope S, London)

‘Amazing food, company, views, all the weather. I’ve been very well looked after.’ (Robert H, London)

‘My fourth visit in just under a year. I hope they like me because I’ll keep coming back! (Annie C, Wales)

‘Thanks for a wonderful, inspiring week nurtured by food and landscape.’ (Emma S, Leeds)

‘Another fabulous, inspiring week, fuelled by gentle tutoring, great atmosphere and wonderful food.’ (Victoria S, Newcastle-under-Lyme)

‘Second time as good as the first!  Looking forward to the next.’ (Shirley R, Haslemere)

‘Thanks for warm welcome, Hamish and Rebecca – fantastic tutoring, home cooking and setting and great to have lots of first drafts to take home.’ (Emily D, London)

‘Sheep and sun, food and family, peace and poetry, love and laughter – a truly special place!’ (Sally V, Norfolk)

‘My second fabulous week here. The best hosts, tutor.  Inspiring fellow students and setting.’ (Janey Y, Essex)

‘Best way to spend a week (with writing, laughter, great food). Thanks so much!’ (Alex H, Preston)

‘Excellent week: thoroughly enjoyed it. Just what I was looking for.’ (Cliff C, Staffs)

‘What a fantastic week! Thank you for being wonderful hosts. Your home is lovely. And the food!!!’ (Emma D, Wilmslow)

‘Absolutely brilliant. Food, showing the majesty of veg. Brilliant company and some great writing.Thanks for having me.’ (Amy G, Beverley)

‘A wonderful place, full of music and poetry and the milk of human kindness.’ (Lorna D, Belper)

‘One of the most memorable experiences I have ever had. Poetry, music, amazing food and people I shall miss very much.’  (Claudia A, USA)

‘This has been a most peaceful and pleasant experience. It’s been like being with a second family – the hospitality has been superb and the food quite exceptional. I hope to return in the not too distant future.’  (Michael H, Wigan)

‘What can I say but that I feel refreshed, re-energised, inspired and nurtured. Thanks to you both and the incredible retreat you create here. It has been absolutely wonderful and possibly paradigm shifting for me in my life!’ (Anastaziya T, Liverpool)

‘Wonderful hospitality and inspirational Andrew McMillan.’ (Fokkina M, Manchester)

‘This has been such a lovely, inspiring and beautiful week. Exceeded expectations in every way!’ (Chris O’C, Leeds)


Tutors/Guest Readers

‘Thank you! What a great night in a great place!’ (Ian McMillan, poet and broadcaster)

‘Thanks for the amazing food and the magical company and inspiration.’ (Kim Moore, poet)

‘Happy going forward with the Garsdale Retreat and thank you for a delightful meeting of minds and hearts.’  (John Hegley, poet)

‘Our second visit to the Garsdale Retreat -we were looking forward to it all year and we just had a fantastic time.’  (Susan Taylor, poet)

‘We had a fabulous week with wonderful, adventurous students who coped brilliantly with everything we threw at them. Thanks to Jude and Frances but especially to Hamish and Rebecca for their love.’ (Simon Williams, poet)

‘What a week! Wonderful writers, food, stories, chat – unforgettable!’  (Catherine Simpson, writer)

‘Blissful, as before.  Many thanks!’  (Fleur Adcock, poet)

‘Diorch i bawb! A lovely week.’ (Paul Henry, poet)

‘Thank you for a lovely welcome!’  (Hannah Lowe, poet)

‘Wonderful poets, wonderful place.’  (Ian Duhig, poet)

‘Absolutely fabulous!  You have created a writing haven.  Thank you for your generosity, warmth and enthusiasm!’  (Natasha Sutton-Williams, playwright/performer/singer)

‘This is such a special place.  I am blown away by it!  Thank you.’  (Elinor Cook, playwright)

‘What a wonderful week of writers working together in the perfect environment. Thank you Rebecca and Hamish.’  (Linda Cracknell, writer)

‘A pleasure to be back.  Thanks for inviting me again!’  (Ben Mellor, poet, performer)

‘Wonderful!’   (Lemn Sissay, poet/writer)

’18 poems and 2 stone heavier with a poetry muscle that has never been so finely tuned! Thank you for wonderful hosting.’  (Rhian Edwards, poet)

‘Thank you for letting me be your guest reader.  Such a treat.  I feel nourished even from one evening.’  (Carol Farrelly, writer)

‘Fond memories of last year and my return visit surpassed even that – thanks so much.’  (Hannah Vincent, novelist/playwright)

‘Everything outstanding on every level.’ (Willy Russell, writer)

‘Truly splendid to be here again. Thank you!’  (Nick Stimson, playwright)

‘Such a gorgeous evening of love, laughter and reading.’  (Andrew McMillan, poet)

‘Thank you so much for a wonderful visit and the chance to speak about poetry with so many intelligent people.’  (Vidyan Ravinthiran, poet)

‘A beautiful, special place! I’m leaving with inspiration and recipes! Thank you.’ (Zoe Strachan, writer)

‘A brilliant, tolerant hardworking group – and the FOOD!’ (Jo Bell, poet)

‘Lovely to see you in this beautiful spot!’ (Rachel Rooney, poet)

‘It has been a privilege to tutor ‘The Good Books Last – all power to your pens, bows and cooking pots!’  (Ann Pilling, poet/writer)

Course Participants – 2018

‘One of the FAB, FAB, FAB highlights of my life. Thank you’ (Jean S. Settle, North Yorkshire)

‘The first of many collisions and encounters with poetry and The Garsdale Retreat! Thank you’ (Shirley R. Canadian from Haslemere, Surrey)

‘What a wonderful week. A new opening for me, fuelled by such delicious food, friendly and inspiring co-poets, helping me a little further up, the poetic mountain range. And I must mention the superb music – thank you so much. (Victoria S. Newcastle under Lyme, Staffs.)

‘Fabby, fabby, fabby, more, more, more, don’t wanna go home….’ (Sue V. Settle/Bradford)

‘What a wonderful retreat! Great company, superb food, red squirrels, curlews and time to write!’ (Annie C. Wales)

‘Lovely place, food, company!  Will return to see elusive squirrel!’  (James B, Plymouth)

I came back!  Once again achieved more than I would have managed in several months.’ (Eleanor L, London)

‘Nope!  Not leaving unless Rebecca comes with me to look after me forever!  Thank you both so much.’ (Amy-Jane B, York)

‘A wonderful week.  Thank yo so much.  Hope to be back soon.’  (Jane K, Otley)

‘I thought I would never work on my screenplay again but Garsdale did its magic.  Awesome food and wonderful hosts.’  (Lorraine M, London)

‘I feel like a newly born lamb! ‘  (AJ, Cambridge)

‘Thanks so much for a wonderful time in Garsdale!’ (Sam M, London)

‘Thank you so much – time, quiet, a fire and a cat – PERFECTION!’  (Joan L, Fife)

‘A warm welcome and a lovely time! Many thanks.’   (Teresa F, Leeds)

‘Wonderful environment to write, delicious food! Many thanks.’ (Emma B, Leeds)

‘Swaanderful, smarvellous.  I loved it.  Be well, Hamish and Rebecca!’  (Jude O’M, Dublin)

‘Thanks to our tutors, Simon and Susan for a stimulating week, to Hamish for inspiration and to Rebecca, his muse and wonderful cook, and to Jude for laughter.  Lots of music!  Thanks most of all for your kindness and generosity.’  (Frances W, Teddington)

‘This was a most fantastic week for me – wonderful tutor and I learned such a lot.  Fantastic hospitality.  Thank you, Hamish and Rebecca.’  (Janet W, Hants)

‘A writing retreat is a great idea in itself. Garsdale made the experience joyful.  Location, food and companionship were perfect.’  (Steven C, Cheshire)

‘Back within three months and Garsdale just gets better! What a wonderful week!  Thank you so much all!  (Annie C, Wales)

‘Thank you Hamish and Rebecca for an experience beyond words!’  (Iain B-B, Aberdeenshire)

‘Thank you for a lovely week. Beautiful place, lovely hosts, lovely food. Inspiring!’  (Heleln T, Liverpool)

‘There was a summer in Garsdale, I was there.  Even the sheep were smiling.’  (Pete W, Bristol)

‘Fab week:  excellent tutor, marvellous food and hospitality.  Thank you Hamish and Rebecca.’  (Robin H, Eastbourne)

‘I feel I’ll look back at this week as the moment of real change for the better in my life.  You have given us an absolute gift.  Thank you so much.  I’ll be seeing you again.’  (Madeline G, London)

‘What a wonderful way to progress one’s work and creativity!  Thank you for the space, location, inspiration, and welcome!’  (Mary V, London)

‘Hearing Miller and new words so inspiring.  Meals a delight.’  (Julian H, Manchester)

‘A wonderful week.  Food. Work.  People.  All top notch and lots of laughter.  Thank you.’  (Louise L, York)

‘Thank you for a lovely stay and an inspiring time.  You’ve made something beautiful here!’  (Alice M, London)

‘I hope to return soon, the writing, the food, the people, everything!  It all found my voice and freed my soul.’  (Tracy N, Lincoln)

‘Just wonderful!’  (Trudi L, Felixstowe)

‘Lovely time!  I’m full of good intentions.’  (Kathleen E, London)

‘An absolute treat to have time and space to write!’  (Tanya P, Sussex)

‘A wonderful retreat in every sense.  Thank you for everything.’  (Sheryl McM, Ilkley)

‘It was lovely, thank you. I hope to be back!’  (Jane K, Otley)

‘My second visit and it was even more wonderful than the first.  I love it here!’  (Dawn H, London)

‘So happy to have discovered this wonderful place.  Thanks for everything!’  (Patrick W, Norwich)

‘Lovely! Lovely! Lovely!’  (KL D. London)

‘I will return as the water in the tank will rise again.  Thank you for everything!’  (Esme N, London)

‘A most enjoyable visit.  Can’t thank you enough.’  (Jan P, Lincs)

‘Thank you so much for an inspirational week – great company and delicious food.’  (Angi H, Cheshire)

‘Superb week.  My brain is fizzing!’  (Kathy G, Worcs)

Mille mercis Hamish and Rebecca pour votre gentilesse et generosite.’  (Jacquie M, Beaune, France)

‘I didn’t know what I needed as a ‘beginner’ novelist.  You did.  Wonderful week.  Thank you.’  (Alex H, Hoghton, Lancs)

‘Thank you so very much – just the week I needed but didn’t know it!  You do wonderful things here!’  (Ruth S, Dolphinholme, Lancs)

‘The most perfect week. Food, company, tuition.  Unsurpassable.  Thank you.  Looking forward to my return.’  (Janey T,  Colne Engaine, Essex)

‘An amazing time was had by all and I had a ball!  Thank you!’  (Tom U, Totnes, Devon)

‘I have never been so welcomed and filled with spiritual food and cheese!’  (Phil W, Machynlleth, Wales)

‘Was in two minds about coming.  Best decision I ever made.’  (Richard B, Berlin)

‘A return visit by a Garsdale convert.  What a special place.  Thank you.’  (Natasha S-W, London)

‘Wow!  Eating my pies.  Space attack. Filo.  Sulcus tibi ipsi erandus est.  Thank you.’  (Joshua B,  London/Seville)

‘A retreat with so much to offer – privacy, hospitality, etc etc.’  (Marjorie L, Wigginton, Herts)

‘Thank you so much for this week.  I felt so well supported in my writing, not to mention inspired and well fed!  I hope to come back.  Thank you.’   (Leonie, Manchester)

‘Fantastic week!  All sublime – poetry, food, teaching, company.  Thank you!’  (Liz H, Milton Keynes)

‘Rain. Wind. Food. Poetry. (And thou).  Thank you.’  (Roderic V, Ludlow)

‘Brilliant – as last year was. Friendly, family, food, poetry.’  (Lyn L, York)

‘Great in every sense.  Thank you to everyone involved.  What a place!’  (Siobhan L, London)

‘Fantastic scenery, food, poetry, a lot of weather and Jo Bell.  What’s not to like?’  (Tony M, Oswestry)

‘A brilliant, amazing week in a haven of creativity amd beauty.’  (Nick A, London)

‘Thank you Rebecca, Hamish and Jo for a fantastic creative experience.’  (Sheila L, Limousin, France)

‘The warmth and kindness has been wonderful. Poetry great.  Thank you.’  (Pamela B, Middleton-by-Wirksnorth)

‘Wonderful place, great food, very much enjoyed it!’   (Helen L, Leeds)

‘What a fabulous week – I’m so happy Natasha recommended you!’  (Mo S, Bristol)


Tutors/Guest Readers

What a privilege to be at your very first evening of poetry. May this venture flourish (Ann Pilling, poet, novelist and guest reader)

A wonderful place. I wish you all success. (Nick Stimson, playwright)

Thanks for a superb stay. (Willy Russell, writer)

Lovely to return as a tutor, love what you guys are doing. (Ben Mellor, spoken word poet and tutor)

A wonderful week’s writing and eating!  Thank you for your brilliant hosting, Hamish and Rebecca. (Hannah Vincent, novelist and tutor)

Very rich, enjoyable evening and loved your poetry, Hamish.  Thanks for the invite! (Umi Sinha, movelist and guest reader)

I love this place. (Paul Henry, poet and tutor)

An amazing location, a lovely house and great company. (Philip Lyons, poet and guest reader)

Thanks for a wonderful visit. (Fleur Adcock, poet and guest reader)

A wonderful, fruitful week. Sixty-three poems in four days. Sublime food and hospitality. (Rhian Edwards, poet and tutor)

Fabulous location. Brilliant hosting – the retreat will become a northern sanctuary for writers across the UK. (Paul Deaton, poet)

A splendid venture in the heart of the hills! Brilliant guest gig! Keep up the good work! This is a really special place. (Ian McMillan, poet and guest reader)

Wonderful time – such beautiful surroundings, food and hosts. Brilliant week! (Simon Williams, poet and tutor)

Ever so many thanks for a brilliant time. We were spoilt and our students were ace.(Susan Taylor, poet and tutor)

Thank you for having me guest.  Good folk and food and words.  What else is there? (Kate Fox, stand-up poet and guest reader)


Course Participants

Far beyond my hopes and expectations…..stunning food, wonderful walks and encouragement for writing – all in abundance.’ (Eleanor L, London)

‘The Garsdale Retreat lives true to Keats – I believe in nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination – thank you for a wonderful week.’ (Judith B, Australia)

This has been a wonderful experience on many levels. Hamish and Rebecca, you make a great team.  Thank you for your hospitality.  May The Garsdale Retreat go from strength to strength. (Ian P, Bristol)

Many thanks for a relaxing and refreshing stay at your beautiful and restful place. Stimulating company and wonderful food! Empowering! (Amelia J, London)

Great company and hospitality, wonderful and windy walking, fabulous food. thank you very much. (Penny S, Marple)

How wonderful!  What a privilege to be a part of your first week.  Nutritious food for body and soul!  (Fiona B, Bucks)

Great two nights of lovely food, music and poetry.  (Annie R, Liverpool)

Thank you for a wonderful time.  Good luck for the future.  (Heather S, Devon)

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! (Dana N, Accrington)

Fantastic.  So enjoyable and brilliant hosts.  Thank you!  (Hannah H, Cambridge)

So wonderful. Writing on track again.  Most delicious food.  Thank you for looking after us.  (Carol F, Edinburgh)

Really wonderful hospitality in a great landscape – a rest to create.  (Roger J, London)

Generosity is the way to describe the Cordon Bleu food, the hospitality, the hosts and tutor who all gave of their time, attention and support. (Jean S, Settle)

Pure joy! Wonderful company, stunning food, perfect for poetry. Loved it all. (Chris L. Canada)

What a perfect retreat!  Thank you so much for being fantastic hosts and for such delicious food.  The setting, the people, the poetry – all wonderful! (Kathryn H, Cardiff)

Great house, great hospitality, brilliant course!! (Nicola W, Ipswich)

Fabulous, I’ll be back! (Gabrielle O’D, Epsom)

Brilliant week – fantastic food and fabulous hosts.  Will be back! (Lyn L, York)

A fantastic week. Poetry and food in abundance! (Louise L, York)

Loved every minute – such warmth – magnificent hospitality.  (Jane L, London)

Such an inspiration! Gorgeous food and warm spirit.  (Janice K. – Canada)

Wonderful location, amazing food, very creative week.  (Clare E, Chesham)

A delightful place to stay, work and play!  (Trevor Germon, Exeter)

A beautiful inspirational stay – fabulous hosts, poetry and food. (John F, London)

Wonderful place, will be telling people back home about it! (Ian C, Singapore)

I love this place!  A delightful week of space and stimulation and amazing food. (Dawn H, London)

Excellent course!  Good company.  Wonderful food.  What’s not to like?  I’ll be back….. (Linda M, Letchworth)

Thank you both – food for body, brain and soul.  (Judith A, Edinburgh)

Thanks for a great time, lovely food and company.  (Sally M-S, Malmesbury)