Imagine if nature was our medicine. If the outside world could repair our inside world, facilitating a great connection and love for ourselves – and others.

This is why Cabilla started.

We both experienced mental illness that affected us deeply, Merlin as a British Army Major who had a nervous breakdown due to PTSD in 2017 and Lizzie as a corporate executive who suffered with burnout in 2015 and post natal anxiety after the birth of our first daughter. Getting outside and being in nature was a life-changing part of our journey. We didn’t know the questions to ask or the people who could help, so we just did what felt natural, which was spending as much time outside as we possibly could, walking in our local park or often taking the train for hours to get a 24 hour hit of green.

We realised in 2019, as our restoration efforts here were beginning to gain momentum, that we didn’t just want Cabilla to be a place of ecological balance. We wanted people to come here and find balance in their minds and bodies too, sharing our guardianship of this once private land with as many others as we could.


So, we applied for planning permission and took out a large loan against our home to build the retreat space. Yes, this was risky, and everyone told us that we were crazy (apt!) and not to do it, but we believed in it so much that we took the largest leap of faith of our lives so far.

Over the last few years, we have been reminded that mental health is a constant journey, one to embrace and lean into with pride and not shame. That everyone, no matter how together they may seem, can struggle with mental health. It isn’t a weakness, it is a strength to have the self-awareness and compassion for your mind to want to make it as healthy as possible.

We are privileged to work with some of the UK’s leading yoga and breathwork practitioners, somatic therapists, sound healers and chefs. We believe we have some of the most talented individuals on the planet working in our team to facilitate incredible experiences here – and connect everyone with the restorative power of nature.

We hope that Cabilla comes to you when you need it most, and that when walking through the woods, breathing the oxygen that the trees have created for us to breathe and exist, you feel a part of nature, not apart from nature.

Thank you for reading this and please do get in touch via [email protected] if you’d like to visit.

With love,
Merlin and Lizzie – Founders, Cabilla Cornwall

Meet the Founders


Merlin Hanbury-Tenison

Merlin grew up at Cabilla, where he has always found peace and tranquility that he has longed to share with others. After eight years in the British Army, he retired from service and spent a further eight years working in the heart of London. During this period, the importance of spending time in nature became clearer and clearer to him, as he witnessed the increasing levels of stress and anxiety brought about by urban living. Returning to Cabilla has given him the opportunity to open up the ancient oak woods and grazing land for visitors, groups, scientists and farmers to explore.


Lizzie Hanbury-Tenison

Lizzie has over a decade of senior leadership experience at brands including Green & Black’s, Boots, Boden, Clinique and Charlotte Tilbury. Finding a balance between city and countryside life has always been hugely important to her. The woods at Cabilla Cornwall have allowed her to mentally reset and gain perspective – she finds genuine joy in learning about the ingenuity of nature and its untold, mesmeric power. Moving to the wild beauty of Bodmin Moor is the realisation of years of dreaming; from there, she now operates as a freelance consultant and brand founder, alongside running Cabilla Cornwall with Merlin.

History of Cabilla

Cabilla is one of Cornwall’s ancient old manor farms. When William the Conqueror commissioned the Doomsday book in the late 1060s, there were several hundred small farms in the peninsula that he gave to his brother, Robert, as a gift. And so, Robert became the first de facto Duke of Cornwall. Cabilla is an old Cornish word (originally ‘Carbullia’) which means ‘woollen cloak’. There is an ancient tradition that dates back to this old time: whoever lives on the farm must greet the current Duke of Cornwall at the Cornish-English border with a woollen cloak shorn from the best sheep on the farm. This cloak would protect the Duke from the Atlantic winds that come in from the Celtic sea, keeping them warm and safe during their visit. This tradition has long since fallen by the wayside, but it is a commitment that we continue here at Cabilla. We want you to always feel wrapped up and warm, whatever the weather.