About the Retreat

Who uses the Retreat?2019-04-23T06:20:10+00:00

We have a number of regular visitors: Veterans come and go as they please. They’re a friendly and sociable bunch so please don’t be shy. They’ll me more than happy to help you. We also have youth groups like DofE and scouts who come to help with land management. There are anglers who hide themselves away on the banks of the river Ribble for a quiet days fishing. Then of course there are the deer, badgers, otters and numerous other inhabitants that you may be lucky enough to meet…

What is the terrain like?2019-04-23T06:20:56+00:00

The Retreat is located on steep woodland. There is a stepped path down to the river Ribble but otherwise the ground is rough and wild. The Retreat is crisscrossed by wildlife tracks and these are steep, muddy and littered with trip hazards. When you visit, you must take responsibility for your own safety.

What facilities do you have?2021-06-10T11:46:10+00:00

This is pioneering territory. Facilities are basic. We do not have electricity, gas, running water, telly, or Wi-Fi. We do have a sheltered campfire area with log benches, a composting toilet and plenty of pitches for bashas, tarps and hammocks. We have lots of firewood and take water from a small stream, filter and boil it for cooking and drinking. There are dry shelters, built by veterans for their own enjoyment. If the owner is not present, they are there for anyone to enjoy on a first come, first served basis. If you use one, leave it cleaner and tidier than before and replenish any stocks of firewood you have used.


Do you offer clinical treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?2021-06-10T11:57:42+00:00

NO! That is not our area of expertise.  Clinical treatment is offered by various UK organisations. If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland we strongly recommend Combat Stress. In other areas of the UK treatment is available through the NHS as well as a host of not-for-profit organisations.

About my visit

During your stay2021-06-10T11:52:45+00:00
  1. Areas of the Retreat may be closed for safety reasons. Out of bounds areas will be communicated to you when you arrive.
  2. The communal fire acts as a focal point and is for all to use. Please assist in gathering and cutting firewood
  3. We do have a water supply, but it requires filtering and boiling before drinking. Please help as directed.
  4. Cutting tools such as knives, axes & saws are in continuous use. Use them at your own risk. If you do not know how to use them safely, please tell us and we can show you. Do not be offended if we critique your skills.
  5. Personal first aid kits should be used for minor scrapes & cuts but more comprehensive first aid kits (containing trauma supplies) are located at both the top and bottom camps. They are red and will in plain view.
  6. Unless advertised for a specific event, food will not be provided. That said, there is often an informal Jacob’s table if you fancy sharing your feast?
  7. Mobile reception is patchy at best. Phone calls are usually possible but do not assume you will have a data connection.
  8. We occasionally have trespassers. Ask them politely to leave and inform either Paul or Steve immediately.
  9. Keep things tidy and remove EVERYTHING when you leave.

The following rules apply to all and are non-negotiable.

  1. You will keep the Retreat’s location in complete confidence
  2. You will treat both other visitors and mother nature with respect
  3. You will tidy up after yourself and take your litter home
  4. You will leave NOTHING at the Retreat without prior permission. This includes both foodstuffs & equipment
  5. You will not build structures, hunt, trap, or fish without prior permission
  6. You accept full responsibility for your own safety plus the safety of other visitors you care for
  7. You will adhere to Belisama’s policy on alcohol and recreational drugs
I’m visiting Belisamas. What happens if the weather turns bad?2019-04-23T06:22:33+00:00

Like they used to say in the military: “If it ain’t snowin’, we ain’t goin’, if it ain’t rainin’, it ain’t trainin’!” and “Your skin is waterproof and fully breathable”… Seriously though, we operate in almost all weathers so come prepared for the forecast. The Retreat only closes in time of high wind (bringing the danger of tree fall) or high rainfall (bringing the risk of flooding on the banks of the river).

What are my responsibilities?2019-04-23T06:23:19+00:00

Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints. Please be courteous and respect other people, treating them as you would expect in return. Our Veterans have earned that. If you are responsible for minors, vulnerable adults or dogs please keep them safe. Respect other peoples privacy: What’s said in the Retreat, what’s done in the Retreat, stays in the Retreat.

Risks are inherent in all forms of adventurous activity. Belisama’s Retreat CIC have assessed the locations we use and the activities we offer and consider the level of risk to be low. Our site risk assessment has identified the following hazards: Rough and steep terrain, water, fire, unstable trees, adverse weather and the use of the hand tools required for some activities. We believe that participation in any activity should be at the participant’s discretion and you must personally decide if you consider the risks to be acceptable. Accidents can happen without negligence and Belisama’s Retreat CIC accept no responsibility for loss or damage to personal property or for personal injury not arising as a result of its own act or default. This does not absolve Belisama’s Retreat CIC of its “Duty of Care” and other legal responsibilities.

Can I just turn up at Belisama’s Retreat?2021-06-10T12:42:26+00:00

No. Once a Veteran has introduced themselves and provided proof of service we will give them a site orientation. Both this initial registration and subsequent visits can be booked here. Access to the Retreat for members of the public is by prior permission only. Our Veterans have earned the right to solitude, peace and quiet. Please respect that. Thank you.

What clothes and equipment do I need?2021-06-10T11:48:34+00:00
  1. When visiting Belisama’s wear good boots boots offering adequate ankle support and outdoor clothing appropriate for the prevailing weather. You’ll probably get muddy so don’t wear your best frock.
  2. Plan to be completely self-sufficient during your stay. Bring food, brew kit, plenty of water, a mug and spoon. A small personal first aid kit is mandatory as is a bin bag is so you can take your litter away with you!
  3. Self-sufficiency is critical on overnight stays. You will need a sleeping bag, basha, hammock & tarp or, tent. Bear in mind that flat ground is at a premium and is usually muddy. There is nothing to say that a dry shelter will be available during your stay. Some method of heating water and food is essential. If you are confident you can light a fire, bring the means to do so. If you are not, then bring a small camping stove.
  4. If you take regular medication, make sure to bring adequate supplies.
  5. The path down to the river is steep so pack carefully and leave out the kitchen sink as anything you carry in; you will be carrying out again. “Pack it in; pack it out”!
Are dogs allowed at Belisama’s Retreat?2021-06-10T11:53:01+00:00

Dogs are welcome but you must first ask permission. They must be kept under control. Bear in mind that there may be other dogs present. We also have populations of badgers, deer, foxes, otters, gamebirds, and wildfowl. You dog must NOT be permitted to worry these creatures.

How fit do I have to be?2019-04-12T08:43:51+00:00

You don’t have to be that fit but the Retreat is a wild location with rough, steep ground so take precautions appropriate to your condition. Feel free to discuss any medical conditions with us in advance and we will be happy to advise and give additional support if needed.

Is Belisama’s “Dry”?2021-06-10T11:55:42+00:00

Belisama’s is not dry, but the following rules are strictly enforced. Failure to follow them will wear out your welcome very quickly:

  1. Alcohol (and other recreational drugs) are NOT to be consumed during day visits to the Retreat. End of.
  2. That said, after a productive day it is not unreasonable, for those who wish, to down a few well-earned beers around the campfire of an evening before bedding down.
  3. The management decides when the “Sun is over the yard arm” and if you do drink, you will do so with consideration for others.
  4. Consider the risks of hand tools, fire, water, and rough ground. It is your responsibly to stay in control. If you can’t handle it, don’t drink it!
  5. We understand that some veterans have their own battles and may feel uncomfortable being around alcohol. If this is the case, we would really like to know so we can put you at ease and help where we can. Group bookings can be designated as dry. Just request this when you book.