Reclaiming Wildness – Rewilding Ourselves

Reclaiming Wildness – Rewilding Ourselves

t11-17th October 2021
Polcombe, Cornwall.

“Once in their life, a person ought to give themselves up to a particular landscape… to look on it from as many angles as they can, to wander about it, to dwell upon it. They ought to touch it with their hands at every season and listen to the sounds that are created upon it. They ought to be receptive to the creatures there and to the faintest motions of the wind. They ought to know the glare of the moon and all the colours of the dawn and dust.”

            – Navarre Momaday


This retreat is themed around falling in love with this Earth and coming into intimacy with a particular place. To love or to be intimate with something is to draw close to it, to know it as somehow connected to oneself, even as part of oneself. To know life in this way is to court both joy and sorrow, to know both the beauty and the pain of this life, and draw close to the particular challenges and invitations of the times we are living through. The natural expression of this intimacy is care and compassion, though the journey there is not always easy.


In our times we live with the possibility of ‘The Great Turning’, the opportunity to reweave the human narrative so that we may live in a mutually enhancing manner as members of the Earth community.  We also live with the possibility of the ‘Great Unravelling’, the continued degradation of many of the human and ecological systems we live within. It is a challenging time to be alive in, yet it is also a privilege – to be awake at this crucial juncture in our collective story, and to participate in the direction of its unfolding. This retreat is an opportunity to attend to the ground where we find personal and collective agency in meeting these times.


We will dwell in a small (60 acre) woodland sanctuary near the coast of Southern Cornwall http://polcoombe.co.uk/ that is being stewarded in its regeneration, diversity and health by the local community. It is surrounded by land given over to monoculture agriculture, highlighting these differing human relationships with land and with life.  Nearby on the coast we witness the great wilderness of this nation – the sea, and yet here too, if we look more closely we also see the effects of human domination.


The retreat explores the practice of rewilding and what it may be to reclaim wildness – personally, collectively and in relationship to the land, and how these three are inextricably bound together. We will explore how such practices of rewilding may serve as a refuge to strengthen our resilience in living through these times.


In rewilding the land we will have the opportunity to engage directly with the land at Polcoome, supporting the restoration of the ecological integrity of land and its inhabitants.  Through serving a wider circle of life we may come to find our own souls nourished in the process, knowing that other life has benefited from our own, perhaps even long after we have passed. In this way, the elders say, we become good ancestors.


In exploring our collective re-wilding, we draw on Deep Ecology work and other eco-centric practices, exploring collectively how to face the often overwhelming challenges we witness and are affected by. In particular, we will attend to how we are able to open to the magnitude of the suffering we encounter without falling into either overwhelm nor disengagement. We ask how can we cultivate a relationship with what is painful that serves as a gateway that can open our hearts in a manner that is empowering and brings us more fully alive?


In re-wilding ourselves, we will invite solo time on the land as well as time attending to the inner landscape of our own minds through contemplative practice. Time on the land is informed by practices that explore how the land offers itself to us as refuge, mirror, companion and ultimately our larger sense of identity and belonging. The meditation or contemplative practice in the context of this retreat supports a re-wilding of ourselves not only through deepening our sense of presence to this sensuous life, but also through enabling us to see more clearly the patterns of domination that we have internalized within our minds. Through this rewilding of the mind we allow that which no longer serves to fall away, and that which genuinely serves us to be nourished.


In celebrating wildness it is important to make space for unstructured time, and there will be ample opportunity for sitting around the fire at night, whittling or sharing a song, or simply enjoying the wild company of people and land and coming to recognise, as Thoreau remarked, ‘In Wildness is the preservation of the world.”



Rupert Marques
Rupert’s background is in environmental and outdoor education with an emphasis on experiential approaches to exploring ecological identity and personal agency. For several years he trained and guided with the School of Lost Borders (U.S.) in Contemporary wilderness rites of passage, and now offers this work here in Europe.

The other thread of Rupert’s livelihood centers on contemplative practice. He has practiced in the insight meditation tradition for over 25 years in Europe, America and Asia, and teaches at various retreat centers in Europe and beyond.

In recent years Rupert has sought to bring the fields of contemplative practice and wilderness immersion together. This has been supported by living and working at Ecodharma, a contemplative retreat community in the Spanish Pyrenees dedicated to the movements for social justice and ecological sustainability.

Rupert currently works with individuals and organizations offering a range of retreats and trainings that explore personal empowerment and resilience in service of creating a more just and beneficial human presence on this Earth.

Adrian Kowal

Adrian is passionate about the wellbeing of the whole. He is a social entrepreneur and community builder. Adrian himself pines for a healthy mix between adventure (doing) and slowing down (being), both of which he brings into the retreats and expeditions that he runs. Adrian deeply enjoys supporting the balance in people’s personal holistic well-being, working with men’s groups and also guiding adventures and expeditions.

Adrian lives off-grid in southern Tuscany, Italy, where he is growing an intentional community. He is the co-founder of Way of Nature UK and is impassioned by the alchemical reaction of combining deep relaxation processes with Rites of Passage nature connection practices. He has trained and assisted in facilitating programmes with John P. Milton, and has been leading wilderness programmes for 7 years. Adrian is also a co-founder of The Visionaries, an organisation that creates nurturing school communities that support young people into healthy adulthood. Adrian co-founded and runs Evolve, a centre for growth and wellbeing in London, for 10 years and has deep knowledge of both urban and nature-based wellness practices.

He works on a host of other businesses and projects that involve being of service, supporting the emergence of a better world for our grandchildren’s grandchildren and having a great deal of fun and connection along the way.



The price for the program  including all activities, practices, accommodation and food: £600

We have a few bursary places available.

We really want to support people to participate. If you are challenged by your income please get in touch with us: [email protected]



If you would like to apply for this mentorship, please complete this application form.

For more information please email [email protected].


Equipment and Camping

We ask that you bring your own camping equipment for this programme. Please check our packing list to ensure you have everything you need.


Travel Information

We will be meeting at Polcoombe – the venue, at 2pm on 11th October. The programme will finish at 12 noon on the 17th August.

For more information of travel to Polcoombe, please visit:

How to find us

[email protected]        Copyright Way of Nature UK 2015-2020.