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Yeotown review | holistic hideaway, Devon, UK

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Retreat

Sassy health, fitness & detox breaks in a lush setting

The Quick Read: Yeotown is an unexpectedly contemporary haven in a lush, rural setting in North Devon. Its award winning health and fitness detox programme, the Yeotox, takes place over 5 days from Wednesdays to Sundays each week and combines outdoor activities, yoga, fitness classes and a detoxifying menu for busy professionals. You can expect gorgeous interiors, power showers, underfloor heating, decent beds, a sauna, good treatments with local therapists and delicious food. Yeotown also sometimes offers one-off retreats with top names in the health and fitness world, and you can hire the whole place for a bespoke retreat for family, friends or a healthy hen break too. They also run two yoga holidays a year in places like Bali and Sri Lanka.

Budget: ££££-£££££

Yeotown running on Beach

Running on the beach (a short drive away) on a ‘Yeotox’

More on the Yeotox breaks: Yeotox is a 4 night, 5 day health and fitness detox programme at Yeotown that runs every week from Wednesday to Sunday (Thurs-Mon over bank holidays). It’s designed to leave you feeling strong in your body and in a more relaxed mental state and combines outdoor and indoor activities, yoga, fitness classes and a detoxifying menu. Most guests lose between 3-5 lbs while and go home determined to continue with a healthier diet and lifestyle. Read a word from the king on his Yeotox.

The Yeotox daily programme includes beautiful daily coastal hikes, core fitness sessions, daily yoga-inspired stretching sessions and chi gong. Part of the Yeotox is a mental detox, letting go of schedules and not knowing what is happening next, so there’s a lovely surprise or two along the way too. Alongside this is some meditation and each full day ends with a deep tissue or rejuvenating massage and sauna.

Yeotown Yeotox health retreat detox yoga fitness Devon

A massage in the delectable Sanctuary – massages are included in the Yeotox programme

The treatments: Treatments are with young, vibrant local therapists who on our visit looked very healthy and were calm, laid-back and unfussy. There are a couple of good treatment rooms, but the best space to have them in is by candle light infront of a fire in The Sanctuary, a brilliantly done large room with logs lining one wall, a wood burner and plenty of space.

More on Yeotown’s other wellbeing retreats: Yeotown sometimes runs one-off retreats with guest wellbeing experts, and also runs yoga holidays twice a year in Bali and Sri Lanka. You can also hire the whole place for a bespoke retreat for family, friends or a healthy hen break too.

More on the inside: The light-flooded, wooden-floored yoga room leads off from the courtyard. It had a giant leaf-and-berry display in its arched window on my visit, a lovely silver sculpture of a woman doing yoga and some inspiring stone buddhas.
There are also three treatment rooms, a drying area for wet boots and jackets and a contemporary sauna which is lit each evening at 6pm – outside, a funky pink neon sign on the wall spells Yeotown’s mantra (Strong in body, Peace in mind).
In the retreat house, we especially love the green sitting room, which was flooded with light from lots of windows and full of interesting hardback books to flick through, bronze sculptures, stone bowls and other objects d’art collected by Simon in his other life as a gallery owner. For cosy evening reads there’s a little snug with an open fire.
The barn bedroom at Yeotown

The barn bedroom at Yeotown

More on the bedrooms: Bedrooms are contemporary and comfortable, set upstairs in the retreat house or in converted buildings. They are all restful, attractive places to be and individually decorated. We like the room (left) set apart in a converted barn, with its own little entrance way leading to a spacious, carpeted bedroom with white-painted wood panels lining the walls, a huge, beamed ceiling, a large, firm bed with decent linens and a piece of contemporary art above an unusual, grey-painted chest of drawers. We also like the bedroom with the wooden balcony in the main retreat house for its expansive rural views. Rooms are excellently equipped – notebook and pencil, hairdryer, umbrella, sun hats, gown, sauna towel, organic toiletries, lavender bags – you name it, they’ve provided it.

The garden at Yeotown

The garden at Yeotown

More on the outside: A cream-painted retreat house and outbuildings are centred around a humble little courtyard with pots of white flowers, a giant buddha’s head, small iron tables to sit at when it’s sunny and an old stone water trough. There’s a dovecote with white doves flying about, and a glorious large room for treatments and meditation sessions called The Sanctuary. Grounds are green and leafy, with well-kept lawns and flower beds, and fields lead down to a river along which you can walk.

Breakfast in the sunshine

Breakfast in the sunshine

Food & drink: You eat communally in a funky, spacious dining room-cum-kitchen, where local cook Julia prepares her delicious vegan, veggie and protein-rich meals, all sourced from local suppliers, as fresh and organic as she can get it. There’s a dedicated place to make your own teas, which also has a chopping board with fresh lemon, ginger and mint leaves so you can make your own infusions.

The diet is dairy, wheat, gluten, caffeine, alcohol and meat free and is aimed to aid detoxification in the body and to rebalance your blood sugar levels – avoiding the ups and downs that are produced by sugary foods and drinks, including coffee and tea. Meals are quite simply delicious – here’s a sample menu for a day: A welcome juice of Raspberry, Rosehip and Mint; a Lunch of Summer Vegetable and Lentil Soup with a Revitalizing Red Cabbage, Celeriac & Walnut Coleslaw and a Scrummy Leaf Salad; an afternoon juice of Green Kale, Spinach, Parsley, Carrot, Cucumber and Lime; then a dinner consisting of Roast Aubergine Dip with Crudités, Yummy Baked Organic Salmon with Saffron Cauliflower and a Super Healthy Rocket Salad with Toasted Seed.

Fellow guests: Professional men and women looking to get fit, de-stress or develop their yoga practice. You will feel comfortable being sociable or taking yourself off alone.

The green sitting room at Yeotown - perfect for quiet time

The green sitting room at Yeotown – perfect for quiet time

crown What’s queenly: Having treatments by an open fire in the Sanctuary. Julia’s delicious food, from lemon drizzle cake that you could literally suck the fresh lemon juice from to enticing salads, dahls and rice-based dishes. Simon and Mercedes, who are friendly owners committed to offering the best in health.

What’s lowly: The wooden-floored, light-filled yoga space is lovely but it’s small – there are plans to build a larger, eco-friendly yoga room in the grounds. You have to walk outside to get between buildings (though it’s nice to get a blast of air and umbrellas are provided).

Costs: Yeotox breaks cost £1870 per person staying in a room alone for 4 nights, including all activities, meals, massages as above and transfers between Tiverton train station. Three well earnt massages and the use of a sauna are also included. More massages and a personal health consultation can be booked at extra cost if you want. Yeotown asks for a £400 non refundable deposit on booking and the balance 28 days before the start of the programme.

Getting there: The nearest station is Tiverton Parkway. Advance Single fares from London Paddington to Tiverton are £14.40 with First Great Western – buy tickets in advance to get the best deal – see www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk, download the free mobile app or telephone 03457 000125. FGW also has an arrangement with Europcar for discounted car hire – and customers can be collected from a number of their stations – see here for more info.

Further reading: To get a feel for what it’s like to do yoga here, read a word from the queen on a yoga weekend at Yeotown – but note, Yeotown no longer run dedicated yoga breaks here.

Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones 

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The dining room at Yeotown

The dining room at Yeotown