Out of the Woods: Folk Song Writing with Harbottle and Jonas

A two-day immersion in nature-related folk songs


Friday 24 Sept, 6pm – Sunday 26 Sept, 4pm


Dave Harbottle and Freya Jonas


Studio 1, SPACE, Dartington Trust 


£240 non-residential | £345 residential – see below for full details on what’s included

About this Course

Reconnect with nature, and with yourself, on this two day course in the beautiful outside spaces surrounding Dartington Trust

During this weekend course you will spend time in the woods and gardens of Dartington, taking inspiration from nature and learning to play and sing nature-inspired folk songs as a group. This experience will be applied to writing exercises that will get your creativity, words and voices flowing in new ways, with the chance to write your own song; solo or in groups.

We will sing outside in the woods, swim in the river (optional) and sit, reflect and meditate. Friday night will be a fireside evening to which you are encouraged to bring a nature-related song or story to share. Harbottle & Jonas will perform a public gig on the Saturday evening joined by very special guest artist Jackie Oates who will also join in with a workshop activity. Choral workshop leader Katie Whitehouse will be assisting the course.

This workshop is open to anyone – bring your voice or your instrument or both! No experience necessary, just a willingness to connect with folk songs, nature and your own creativity.

About the tutors

Partners in life and music, dynamic Devon based folk duo Harbottle & Jonas are one of the most exciting acts on the UK circuit today, combining a love of the richness of traditional folk with their own original and powerful songwriting. Dave and Freya have developed a distinct and compelling signature sound, blending concertina, harmonium, banjo, stomp box, acoustic guitar and cittern with their beautiful and closely intertwined vocal harmonies.

Information for Participants


We will be outside a lot of the time and there will be the opportunity to swim in the river and to explore the beautiful Grade II listed gardens at Dartington and the countryside on the estate, so please bring weather appropriate clothing (which for September in Devon probably ranges from warm and waterproof to swimsuits and suncream!) 

Lunch will be provided on Saturday and Sunday. These communal meals are a vital part of the learning experience and we strongly recommend you attend them. Tea and coffee will be available throughout the course.

Please make sure that we know any dietary requirements before your arrival. You can let us know by getting in touch with the box office.

Please bring your voices, instruments, and something to write or record notes, ideas, and your compositions on.

There will be the opportunity to share a story or song one evening around a fire, so if you can, please bring something nature-inspired (this can be your own work, but doesn’t have to be).


Registration and check-in for residential participants is from 3pm on Friday 24 April, in Guest Services, which is located under the Archway to the Main Courtyard at Dartington.

For most of the course you will be based in SPACE, Studio 1.

Each day will start at 10am, please make sure that you arrive 15 minutes before the start of the course.


All participants are invited to an evening meal and drinks in The White Hart Solar Room at 6:30pm on Monday 12 April. Dinner will be socially distanced in a beautiful medieval room.


On Thursday evening you are invited to join us for a performance with Harbottle and Jonas, and guest artist Jackie Oates.

Please note this information is subject to change, please check back here before the start of your course.

food and drink

On this course, lunch will be provided on Saturday and Sunday. These communal meals are a vital part of the learning experience and we strongly recommend you attend them.

Tea and coffee will be available throughout the course.

Residential option

We recommend that if possible, you stay on-site during your course. All of our courses are best experienced holistically: through working, relaxing, eating and staying with other course participants and tutors.

Our beautiful rooms have all the character and personality you’d expect, but not at the expense of comfort. With easy access to our wider estate, they are the perfect place to relax and recharge.

Breakfast and dinner each day – made with fresh, locally-sourced produce by our award-winning team – are included: one less thing to worry about during your stay.

Choose this option by selecting ‘residential’ at checkout (head to ‘Book now’, below). Please note:

– Accommodation is available at a discounted rate for course attendees.
– For this course, you will arrive on Friday 24 September and depart on Sunday 26 September.
– Breakfast and dinner are included on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday morning. (Dinner on Fridayis a communal experience and part of the course fee – see above).
– Check-in for all rooms is from 3pm on the day of arrival.
– Check-out for all departures is 11am on the day of departure.
– Accommodation is booked on a first come, first-served basis only.

Offer: Special rate for Dartington Members

Dartington Members will receive a 10% discount, applied when they log in during the checkout process. For more information about Membership, click here (opens in new tab).

Friday 24th September

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