From the frontline to the field

Retreats for essential workers

What is Out in the Field?

Out in the Field is an initiative providing retreats for frontline staff.

It was set up to support staff in the public sector to prioritise their wellbeing. To give them time to relax, restore and reconnect and to up-skill them to be active participants in their own health care, providing a tool-kit of strategies to deal with stress when working in high pressure jobs.

Each retreat is facilitated by experienced teachers and forest bathing guides and designed around the specific needs of a team or group. The core practices of the programme are mind-body practices following the Sophrology methodForest Bathing and nutrition and reflection practices. 

Watch the video to find out more

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Impact Evaluation Report

In 2023 Out in the Field worked in partnership with Ellana Hall, a Masters student of Creative Health at UCL, to assemble an impact evaluation on behalf of Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust. 
A survey completed 3-months following the retreat demonstrates that participants utilised techniques learnt to their benefit both at work and at home following the retreat:
• 95% felt clearer about how to support their wellbeing
• 88% of participants have spent more time in nature.
• 78% of participants reported practising mind-body exercises since the retreat.
Which has had a positive impact on Work Culture:
• 77% of participants felt more positive about their work in general following the retreat.
• 87% of participants felt that their relationships with colleagues had been more positive since the retreat.

Who are we working with?

We have run retreats for over 800 NHS staff and have worked with the following hospitals and NHS Trusts: Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford and Gravesend Trust, The Maudsley Hospital, King’s College Hospital NHS Trust, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.

In 2023 funding was provided through the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme from Defra and the Kent Downs National Landscape to build the NHS retreat programme at The Quadrangle and to expand the programme to social-care and teaching staff. 

Out in the Field is also now developing retreat programmes for primary-care NHS staff in Somerset and Surrey. Listen to The General Practice Podcast with Dr Tim Rigg (Frome Medical Practice) and Jessie Teggin. 


The purpose of Out in the Field is to host nature retreats that help frontline workers relax, restore and reconnect for the benefit of their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the health, education and care system. 

This means that we:

  • Support the mental health and wellbeing of frontline staff
  • Offer a retreat space in nature, that enables participants to experience nature connection practices and mind body practices
  • Facilitate reflective sharing, listening and learning
  • Provide participants with tangible and specific mind/body practices, which can be effectively utilised in their daily lives
  • Support their physiological health with nutrient- dense menus that support energy levels, gut and immune health

Why it is important

The programme is an opportunity to appreciate and value staff and provide lasting support of staffs’ wellbeing and mental health.  

It provides attendees with self-care practices for managing stress, whilst group work enables reflection, understanding and communication. 



The Quadrangle – a not-for-profit social enterprise and retreat centre located in the Darent Valley, Kent, has been home to the Out in the Field retreats between 2020- 2023. 

We are now developing retreat programmes in Somerset and Surrey. Our aim is to develop partnerships with NHS Trusts, schools and educational institutions, social-care organisations, venues and facilitators around the country. 

“Every NHS trust needs a Quadrangle” Dr Gillian Orrow

With thanks

Thanks to all those who contributed to the Out in the Field Crowdfunder campaign in 2021 and the funders who supported the development of NHS retreats after the first covid lockdown in 2020: 
And the team who piloted the first retreats and have supported the development of this project from the early days Eve Annecke, Jo-Anne Nighy, Jon Ottley, Andy Somerville, Rachel Fenn, Roberta O’Callaghan, Matt Murphy, Claire Watson, Photographer and NHS worker Glenn Dene and Sam Rowe at Honeybells Tents and Events.

Connect with us

Funding provided through the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme from Defra and the Kent Downs National Landscape