About Us

I am Deborah Dooley, and I’ve been a freelance journalist, columnist and writer for over 25 years, and count myself fortunate to have had a career that I’ve loved, and which has fitted well around raising three children. Over the years I have written on a huge variety of subjects, including health and medical issues, baby and child care, as well as hundreds of features and stories on the endlessly fascinating aspects of people’s lives.


Retreats for You began when the departure of our children from the nest left my partner Bob Cooper and I wondering how best to use our rambling thatched house. Set in the village of Sheepwash, a tiny village in rural North Devon, it had been a wonderful family home, and now seemed strangely redundant. A clever friend had the answer. ‘Writers need space’, she said. ‘The peace of the village and the beauty of the countryside makes this the perfect place to write – and as a working writer, you can offer support.’ And so Retreats for You was born, offering a comfortable space to write with no interruptions, full board – to avoid the need to think about meals, as well as the opportunity to discuss work in progress.
Retreats for You has gradually blossomed into a place for anyone who needs some time out, and whether a guest wants to write, paint, walk, or simply reflect, the ethos remains the same. A warm welcome into our home, a calm, supportive and nurturing environment, plenty of good homecooked food, and the choice of being sociable or solitary.
The latest development at Retreats for you is Bob’s furniture making workshops. Restore a family heirloom or make something beautiful, with guidance from a craftsman with years of experience.
My favourite definition of the word retreat is ‘a safe, quiet and secluded place.’ And that’s what Retreats for You is all about.