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When someone meets themself

When someone meets themselfI used to think that it was great when people staying at High Trenhouse took the opportunity to go out and encounter raw nature. Then I discovered that what sometimes happened was not that they encountered nature, so much as that nature brought them into contact with themselves.

We are embedded in the fabric of society and these days society sees itself as other than nature. Our history and culture and language, our upbringing and everything about our modern lifestyle alienate us from our relationship with life on earth. It is quite something to re-discover our one-ness with nature.

“High Trenhouse offers perfect facilities for a retreat.  Every human need is effortlessly catered for so real reflection can occur.”

Lauren Deere – Birmingham Museums Trust
Participant on the Museums and Resilient Leadership programme

So when we pause in our onward rush, when we allow ourselves to slow down, when circumstances still our minds and open our perceptions, then something different can happen. It is not something we can do. It is something we can allow or invite.

When the time and circumstances permit, a simple walk outdoors might be enough. Some clients have their participants spend time on the hillside. As the artificiality of daily activity falls away, as inner turmoil stills, as perceptions open up, you eventually get to meet yourself.

You are beautiful.
You are awesome.
There is no greater gift than this.

Nature smiles on us

Nature smiles on us if only we can be in tune. After all we are naturally part of nature. These days we, as a society, have alienated ourselves, largely because of our fragmentary way of thinking, that causes us to see everything as separate from everything else, when it might otherwise be seen that everything is connected with everything. Our way of knowing (our epistemology) shapes the world we live in.

When we allow our true self to surface and to encounter whatever is before us, only then might we encounter a different world and hence a different self. It happens more than we recognise or acknowledge. Those unguarded moments when we encounter the beauty of nature or the joy of living. Moments when we really see a flower or an insect or some play of nature with light in the mist or the drowning of puddles in a rainstorm or we wonder at the stars on a clear night.

For myself, I recall discovering that it was always worth the effort to leave the comfort of my sleeping bag and brave the elements in the hills, because nature would surprise me. In my unguarded moments she would present an unexpected vista or bring before me a deer or share some other gift. That discovery was itself a gift, which has stood me in good stead ever since. It is always worth making an effort to meet nature.

I would go further and say that without direct contact with the physical world “out there”, as unspoiled and natural as we can find, we are ourselves diminished.

As we experience a new springtime, make the opportunity to meet yourself in nature. A few moments is all it takes, in the right place, in the right state.

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

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YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!
YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

We will be delighted if you and a colleague will join us at High Trenhouse on Friday, 17 APRIL 2015 from 10am to 2pm or thereabouts.

In a short workshop we will explore how to get maximum benefit from your off-site retreats. Then we can enjoy lunch together in the High Trenhouse tradition of excellent hospitality.

We invite you to tour the facilities of High Trenhouse, talk to us about the venue, facilitation and other services, network with professional colleagues and enjoy the relaxing beauty of Malham Moor.

RSVP to reserve places (

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!


YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

Our new website is live! – with an updated format and complete with a video which we hope captures something of the special quality of the place.

Do take a look and let us know what you think.

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

Special Offer – Hurry

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

For weekday commercial bookings during the two weeks of Easter (30 March to 10 April) we offer a choice of:

  • a half-day guided group walk to explore outstanding local sights
  • OR celebratory meal with champagne and canapés
  • OR dinner free of charge the night before your event (minimum six people)

To confirm your eligibility or for further information please phone or email Caroline (

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

For Sale?

Various folk seem to have heard High Trenhouse is for sale. It is not a secret! We have been on the lookout for a worthy successor, on and off, for 30 years, patiently awaiting that right person or group with a desire to build on the special qualities we have nurtured. Here is a great opportunity to run a business in a beautiful country location as a resource for the corporate world. If you know of such a person, do put them in touch. Meanwhile we continue to grow capability to provide clients with the ideal venue for strategic learning and development. Email

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

Improving accommodation

To cope with larger groups we are in the process of upgrading various aspects of the premises. Swapping space between offices and owners’ accommodation has freed up space for two new bedrooms to replace the smallest rooms. Additional swish bathrooms will make all bedrooms en-suite by the summer, so everyone will enjoy a top quality experience.

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

25 years of Directing Change

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

The Directing Change group is our longest serving client and one to whom we are bound by mutual appreciation. The group has brought leaders of top museums and galleries to High Trenhouse for the last 17 years. On this, their latest visit, they are celebrating the group’s 25th year of existence. They presented us with a copy of a book that records their history of learning achievement. The whole event was suitably commemorated with a ‘birthday’ cake and champagne toast.

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!   YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!   YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!   YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

YES, there is such a thing as a free lunch!

Tel: +44 (0)1729 830322
High Trenhouse, Malham Moor, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9PR, UK     Email: click here


A Sense of Place

A recent discussion on LinkedIn set me thinking about why place and space matter so much when you want to make a difference; to run a conference, a workshop or even a meeting. It is easy to assume that whatever space is provided will be good enough. That is to miss the huge difference that is made by having things just right for your purpose. Many people seem to be blind to this obvious truth.

A Sense of Place

So what sort of things are you looking for? It depends on your purpose, of course. If you want open communication and creative contribution you need a very different space from, say, a sales briefing or a pep-talk. Most spaces in offices are designed for formal meetings – often with an immovable table as its main feature or else stiff seating arrangements sub-consciously asserting who is boss. It is difficult to get people to feel relaxed, confident and creative in such surroundings.

Different kinds of layout correspond to different modes of thought and different kinds of relationship. We can equate these roughly to serious-play. Serious is left brain, logical and didactic; necessary for gathering facts, absorbing information and making decisions. Play is right-brain creative, interactive, pattern-making, exploratory. Put in terms of creativity and Serious tends to be convergent where play tends to stimulate the divergent.

An ideal way to cater for the two is to have a space big enough for alternative layouts; formal at one end of the space and informal at the other. Big enough, perhaps, to let sub-groups form and even to allow for interactions around refreshments or adjoining outdoor space. In any case natural light and fresh air will help. If you are just thinking about workspace, then it will be useful to allow different spaces for different functions, not assume one kind of space will suit all purposes.

Open Space, as developed by Harrison Owen, is a way of maximising informal interaction. The title refers to the method of working – a space for ideas to grow – but it also reflects the principle of providing a physical space in which something can emerge. Ideally there would be no furniture whatever. However it might be prudent to provide some chairs so people can sit when tired. Similarly, small portable tables might be useful for drinks or for people to draw or write. On the other hand vertical surfaces – whiteboards and flipcharts – encourage people to have conversations as they think visually and look at one another’s work. These might be on the walls, although portability would again be an asset so that groupings can change and move. Flexibility is a useful attribute. Much is gained by everything being in a state of flux that allows for new connection, physical, social and mental.

In terms of off-site workshops we have particular experience in establishing conditions for creativity to flow. Our ‘inspiration centre’ is a residential facility that combines adequate comfort and safe space in natural surroundings. Friendly and discrete service and wonderful food enable deep experience of being apart from the needless rush of modern life. It provides stimulus with space to think. Such a quality of place and space combines to facilitate the emergence of new ideas and new relationships. It provides a kind of magic that bears little comparison with the kind of constrained or opulent spaces many people try to use. It is a vessel supportive of regenerative interaction for individuals and teams – This is especially valuable to leadership teams as they evolve their organisations’ futures.

come and see for yourself

Feedback – How valuable is it?

 Wherever you go these days you are asked to fill in feedback questionnaires.

We have no idea what use they are to other people, but to us they are very important.  They enable customers to get any issues off their chest, they help us to be sure we are somewhere close to target on satisfying their needs and they enable us to elicit recommendations from satisfied clients.

Last, but by no means least, they help us understand what we can do better to meet customer expectations and continually improve our client experience.   

That’s what it means for us, but we would like to hear how you view feedback questionnaires – what do you see as valuable feedback, how do you put that feedback to good use,  how do you elicit your feedback?

We would love to hear from you!

NEW – Self Catering Breaks at High Trenhouse

Following numerous requests over the years, we are delighted to announce that High Trenhouse now offers self-catering breaks for groups of up to 10 people

Bennett’s at High Trenhouse is  a large detached converted luxury barn, probably the site of the original farmstead dating back to the middle ages. It is available for weekends and holidays on a self-catering basis and offers a well-equipped kitchen, a comfortable lounge/dining room with wood-burning stove and easy access to private patios and garden.

Located on Malham Moor, Bennett’s at High Trenhouse enjoys a wonderful upland location only 2½ miles from the picturesque village of Malham.

If you are looking for that perfect weekend away with your family or friends visit our website for more information  or call 01729 830322 and speak to David or Helen

NEW   Self Catering Breaks at High Trenhouse

News from High Trenhouse

Three or four times each year we produce a Newsletter for our clients past and present. We aim to make it interesting, informative and inspiring and keep you up to date with all the latest events and promotions. We have decided to create a newsletter archive so that some of the lovely client stories can be accessed and enjoyed.

If you are visiting the High Trenhouse Blog or website for the first time and would like to be added to our newsletter just email

Thank you everyone for your continued interest and support.

Newsletter March 2010

Latest Client Testimonial

It is very easy to see why High Trenhouse truly is a ‘Different Kind of Venue’ and has such a great level of popularity amongst businesses. During December 2009, the National Skills Academy Process Industries held a two-day team-building event at High Trenhouse set in the heart of the magnificent Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The relaxed environment, away from everyday interruptions was invaluable to us and we came away feeling that we had achieved a truly memorable team building event and more importantly for us, achieved our objective of improving communication between colleagues.  

Throw in some healthy competition, a picturesque setting, excellent food and great outdoor activities and you have a recipe for a highly successful team-building event. High Trenhouse certainly delivered on all of these areas and we look forward to hosting more events with them in the future. < Latest Client Testimonial

Malhamdale Natural History

Malham Moor and the surrounding area is wonderfully rich in natural history.  This wealth stems from the climate and the geology – the limestone laid down beneath ancient seas and capped by sandstone deposits, raised up, fractured by fault lines and scoured by glaciers to form the watershed of our modern rivers.  In the ice ages glacial melt wore deep valleys now often left dry as the hydrology seeks underground ways.  The relic gritstone caps shape the profile of the highest hills, manifesting in craggy edges as well as in erratic boulders abandoned by the retreating ice.  The rich variety of landscape thus formed results in diverse habitats.   

Land adjoining High Trenhouse, including Malham Tarn estate,  is owned by the National Trust.  The estate supports a centre run by the Field Studies Council, which, while enabling young students to learn from nature, also offers public courses that help people appreciate this wonderful area.  Malham Tarn is a designated Ramsar site – a wetland of world class significance, largely because of its particular juxtaposition of calcium rich waters and acid peat bog – a combination that creates unique ecosysytems.  The whole area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  

It is perhaps for birds that the area is best known – from the peregrine falcons nesting at Malham Cove to the characteristic ground nesting birds of the uplands – pewits, skylarks, curlews and oystercatchers that fill the summer air with sound – plus all the migrants that seek out this rich landscape.  Others find delight in the flowers of the limestone pastures, on the tarn moss and fenlands, in the secret gardens in the grikes of the limestone pavements, or the rare species found on the upper slopes of Penyghent – and all the butterflies and insects in symbiotic relationship with them.

Malhamdale Natural History
Limestone Pavement on Malham Cove

Aiming For Our Best Year Yet in 2010!

High Trenhouse is setting ambitious targets for occupancy in the year ahead with much of our accommodation already booked. We look forward to seeing clients who have enjoyed our hospitality before, but  we also welcome a number of new groups in 2010.

Our clients include medium sized companies, large organisations and independent consultants who are requiring the perfect venue for their event . The type of events include management workshops, training and development events and teambuilding.

High Trenhouse has also seen it’s leisure market grow over the past two years and we continue to work with group organisers who run all kinds of leisure activities.   

Not everyone is aware that we can also provide top-class facilitation, outdoor learning activities and also LogoVisual thinking processes.  It is a very broad offering with something for everyone. 

Corporate clients this year are mostly focused on leadership team development, much of it concerned with strategy development.  Others are more down to earth with smaller organisations taking time out to get together to think about their future. 

Leisure groups cover walkers, painting, yoga and various special occasions such as family gatherings and re-unions. Our longest repeat booking is a group now celebrating its 13th anniversary. 

We pride ourselves in giving excellent value. We offer exclusive use with attentive and responsive service so that the place runs around your people and your process.  There are still some vacancies in 2010.  If you don’t know High Trenhouse, please get in touch and we will be glad to show you around.  Don’t leave it too late to enquire – its going to be a busy year.