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Towards the Solstice: Writing & Witchery



12 - 15 Nov 2020

Thirkelow Cottage
Buxton SK17 0RR

A revamped, rescheduled version of our witchy writing weekend originally planned for Ostara earlier this year. We’re scheming  around our cauldrons once more to bring you a truly spellbinding weekend of writing and magic.

This residential writing retreat takes place on a New Moon weekend a few weeks before the Winter Solstice. The solstice commemorates the longest hours of darkness and the rebirth of the sun, and is considered to be a potent time for regeneration, renewal and self-reflection.

Join us for writing, ritual and much more besides…

The Details

Our venue for the weekend is the beautiful Thirkelow Cottages and Studio, located just outside of Buxton, within the Peak District National Park.

While the purpose-built luxury cottage is within easy reach of nearby Buxton, it’s surrounded by gorgeous countryside, making it the perfect balance between being close to civilisation while feeling wonderfully wild, isolated and far from distractions.

You are welcome to arrive from 4pm on Thursday 12th November, with evening meal and activities starting from 6pm. We will be ending by 4pm on Sunday 15th.

What To Expect

Writing Workshops

With all three facilitators being accomplished writers, this thoughtful, innovative programme of daily writing workshops is guaranteed to spark your creativity. Topics range from writing using tarot to reflective exercises using archetypes, with the option of sharing your work during our evening circles.

Craft Workshops

Don’t think you’ll only be weaving magic with words. We’ve got a range of interactive, hands-on workshops planned, involving charm-making, baking and all sorts of other activities.


From our opening ritual to our closing circle, we’ll be bringing the magic and ceremony in a number of ways throughout the weekend. Rituals will be accessible to all, and you’ll be able to tailor your participation to be as spiritual or secular as you like.

Film Screenings

You bring the pyjamas, we’ll bring the popcorn. After dinner, we’ll be settling into our cosy communal lounge and playing our favourite witchy films: The Craft, The Witches and Hocus Pocus.


We’ve worked with an award-winning local caterer to bring you delicious homemade meals made from fresh, local produce, and we’ll also keep the cupboards well-stocked with snacks you can help yourself to at any point.

Packages + Prices


We have 4-8 places available. The £399 fee is for shared use of a twin room. If you wish, you have the option to pay a £100 upgrade fee for solo use of a deluxe double room, but this is subject to availability so please contact us to discuss if it’s a dealbreaker for you. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, and are quiet, clean and comfortable.

All packages include: three nights accommodation; three full days of activities; all meals (dinner on Thursday; breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday; and breakfast and lunch on Sunday), along with plenty of drinks and snacks to keep you going.

All packages include access to all workshops and rituals, though none are mandatory; you can design your own dream weekend by opting in or out of each activity based on your preferences.

Still got questions? Get in touch.

Co-Host + Facilitator


Claire Askew

Claire Askew is the author of the novels All The Hidden Truths and What You Pay For, both published by Hodder & Stoughton. Her fiction and poetry have won various accolades, including the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, the 2017 Jessie Kesson Fellowship and the 2019 McIlvanney Debut Prize. Claire’s next book will be Break & Closure, a collection that includes poems inspired by real historical women accused of witchcraft (forthcoming from Bloodaxe, 2021). Claire is one half of the team behind the witchy short-course and workshop series Toil & Trouble: Towards a Responsible Witchcraft.

Co-Host + Facilitator

Alice Tarbuck

Alice Tarbuck

Dr Alice Tarbuck is the author of Grid (Sad Press, 2018), and an academic working at the University of Dundee and the Centre for Poetic Innovation. Her work on witchcraft has been featured in 404 Ink’s Nasty Women, The Dangerous Women Project, Edinburgh University’s Uncanny Bodies project, and the Fiction and Feeling project. She has been invited to speak on witchcraft as feminist practice by Scottish PEN and is currently planning a longer work on witchcraft and contemporary practice. Additionally, she has taught workshops for the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Poetry Library and further afield. When she was born, a white wizard came to her house to bless her, and this, she suspects, is where the trouble started.

Co-Host + Facilitator

Jane Claire Bradley

Jane Claire Bradley is an award-winning queer, working-class writer, performer, therapist and educator living in Manchester. She is the author of a chapbook, Truth or Dare (2021), and a novel, Dear Neighbour (Little Brown, 2023). Jane is the winner of a Northern Debut Award from New Writing North, and has been published in a range of lit journals and anthologies, including So Long As You Write (Dear Damsels), The Modern Craft (Watkins) and Test Signal: The best contemporary northern fiction (Dead Ink/Bloomsbury).

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