We believe that offering a nurturing Boutique Cottage Retreat within a small group of participants results in a greater level of personal attention, and thus, a more fulfilling experience for all. At the Cottage, therapy and healing is attained by absorbing transformational sound resonances, rhythms, and a heightened awareness of nature. This is achieved in a number of glorious ways: in Poetry Therapy Workshops; via highly evolved instruments, explored with a Sound Therapist; by absorbing the sounds and rhythms of the natural environment in an unspoilt Nature Reserve.

We all find during our lives the need to occasionally ‘zone out’ and discover ways to trigger emotional and practical change or development.  Feeling stuck, often in a constant recognisable pattern of behaviour, whether it be within a relationship challenge, career issue or a creative slump, can be more than frustrating. Sometimes one needs to physically BE somewhere else but  commitments often make it difficult to afford more than a day or two away.  Here we offer Retreats and Workshops that are entirely doable, and within easy reach of London.  Sound Beginnings is close to Hamford Water, the setting for the 1930s children’s classic by Arthur Ransome of Swallows and Amazons fame; it is a perfect place on the outermost edge of the county of Essex – … a tide-ruled world, half marsh and half sky, The Telegraph .

Keeping numbers small (no more than eight people on a Retreat day or weekend) means that we can present a thoroughly civilised yet homely ‘coffee, luncheon and afternoon tea’ experience with like-minded folk.

The ‘secrets of sound’ and the effects the audible has upon cellular activity within ourselves is only beginning to emerge in public consciousness and Sound Beginnings aims to impart the benefits of this knowledge to heal and nurture.  Whether it be via Poetry Workshops, Sound Therapy or Spirit of Nature Walks we aim to assist your journey. We know it will be transformational.  

In addition to our in-person retreats, relaxing and comforting Meditations will be available here to download, beginning with the Autumn Meditation very soon.  This wonderfully soothing Meditation is guided by Mary MacLeod, the founder of Sound Beginnings.  Simply listen and transcend into tranquility.



About Sound Beginnings

Sound Beginnings was co-founded by Mary MacLeod,  Producer of the recent movie, A Quiet Passion starring Cynthia Nixon which follows the life of the poet, Emily Dickinson and the Documentary My Letter to the World.  Mary’s work over many years has highlighted, she believes, the need to recognise the gift of poetry, sound vibrations and metre, together with the human longing to experience the natural environment: firstly as a means of finding solace, and ultimately leading to transformational grounding and healing in the contemporary world.

There’s a homely cottage in everyone’s soul I believe, never overwhelming just nurturing and accepting.


The other co-founder of Sound Beginnings is Bethany Sharp; a sound and nature enthusiast! Bethany works in theatre and in comedy; writing, performing and producing. She is the Creative Producer for the digital audio theatre company, Frequency Theatre.