Escape to a wild corner of Cornwall with Thera-Sea, an off-grid retreat designed to sooth you both mentally and physically.
Feeling frazzled? Go off-grid and reconnect with the outdoors in a secret corner of the Cornish coast on a Thera-Sea retreat, a two-day escape designed to help you relax, reset and rewild yourself for good.
Thera-Sea: A Cornish rewilding and wild swimming retreat
The only way to reach Thera-Sea is by leaving the real world behind. Hike down a bumpy country track, walk through woodland until you reach a clearing on the banks of the River Fal estuary and you’ll find an old stonecutter’s cottage looking out over a little bay. It’s the perfect place to unwind, explore and learn a thing or two about how to deal with stress while you do so.
Katy Griffin started Thera-Sea retreats to share her passion for wellbeing and the knowledge she gained from years of working as a mental health nurse. She also believes strongly in the mental and physical benefits that come from cold water swimming. And where better to practise these lessons than in a beautiful Cornish cove?
“I created Thera-Sea around the idea that good mental health is about balance. On the retreats we focus on sleep, physical health through swimming, kayaking, yoga and nutrition and mindfulness through foraging and bushcraft, as well as more traditional therapy.”
Thera-Sea retreats take place over two days, and different activities help participants to tick off what Katy refers to as the “six pillars of lifestyle medicine”: physical activity, relaxation, purpose, sleep, nutrition and relationships. Morning yoga, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking on the estuary, bushcraft sessions and foraging walks are all on the menu, and Katy also runs a series of workshops designed to provide strategies for dealing with the stresses that most of us have to deal with in day-to-day life.
Best of all are the Thera-Sea sea swimming sessions, timed for high tide so you can leap off rocks into the cold water of the Fal. Mist was rising from the water during our early morning dip, and the sun turned the water gold during our last swim of the day.
Part of the joy of a stay here is in appreciating living simply. Showers are taken outside, food is freshly cooked up on an open fire by resident chef The Aussie Smoker and accommodation is all off-grid, ranging from an old stonemason’s cottage to a tiny treehouse, a shepherd’s hut and a hunter’s cabin.
Thera-Sea is open to both men and women, but it happens to be an all-girl group the weekend I am there. It’s astonishing how quickly a gang of strangers can connect, and by Sunday we are all jumping into the water together and then sitting around the fire pit like old friends, and the group opens up quickly in Katy’s workshops, too, discussing how to deal with many elements of modern life, from work to wellness to relationships. The lack of signal in this little valley – paired with Katy’s strategies for living mindfully – make a Thera-Sea weekend a special space in which to ignore the wider world for a few days and focus instead on the here and now: on the smell of wood smoke, the taste of good food cooked over the fire and on the feeling of cold water on your skin.