Protocols For Our Writing Houses and Covid 19

The following outlines our plans in response to COVID 19. These measures and protocols will be reviewed regularly and will be adjusted where necessary to keep both participants and staff as safe as possible.

Lateral flow testing

All writers and tutors attending a residential writing course or retreat at Lumb Bank, The Hurst or Totleigh Barton will be asked to take a lateral flow test on the Sunday before arrival and send notification of test results to the house Administrator before arrival. If you do not provide us with confirmation of a negative test result, we will not be able to allow you to take part in the course. If you have a positive lateral flow test on the Sunday you must not attend the course.

We also ask all writers and tutors to take a lateral flow test on Wednesday morning before breakfast. It is your responsibility to bring a lateral flow test for testing mid-week. Arvon will have a limited number of spare tests if needed.

If there is a positive lateral flow test in the group, the course will be terminated and you will be asked to leave.  You will be offered a pro rata refund.


Please note that should you test positive on Wednesday, you will not be able to return home via public transport. For this reason, we suggest that you travel by car if possible, and if you travel by train/taxi to the House, you should have an emergency contact: a friend or family member who will be able to collect you by car by 6pm at the latest on the day of the test, should you test positive for Covid during your Arvon week.


All the bedrooms are single occupancy.


  • The Hurst is all en-suite bathrooms, with no shared bathroom facilities.
  • Lumb Bank has 6 bathrooms – 2 in the barn shared by 4 writers, and 4 in the main house shared by up to 9 writers.
  • Totleigh Barton has 1 en-suite accessible bedroom and 4 additional bathrooms shared by up to 13 writers (max 4 per bathroom).

Catering Arrangements

Cooking and eating together is an essential part of an Arvon week and we have returned to our traditional catering arrangements now that we have reopened.

You will help yourself to breakfast in the shared kitchen. Lunch will be prepared by Arvon staff, who will also cook an evening meal for the group on the Monday night.

You will cook one evening meal with a small group of fellow writers, and you will also be responsible for some clearing up after meals. We have invested in commercial dishwashers in each of our houses to increase hygiene standards.

These duties are confined to a few hours in total, so the rest of the week is left free for writing. Please do not be nervous about cooking for the group. You will cook in a small team and receive lots of support from house staff. (If you have any access issues that prevent you from taking part in the shared cooking, this is not a problem. Just let us know and we will leave you off the rota.)

You will be asked to wear a mask while using the shared kitchen and preparing food. (If you are not able to wear a mask for health reasons, this isn’t a problem: please get in touch and let us know in advance of the week.)

COVID Precautions

We will closely monitor government guidelines alongside local advice and adjust our arrangements accordingly, if necessary.

  • The houses will be thoroughly ventilated.
  • We will be making more use of our outdoor spaces whenever possible, as the weather allows.
  • We will ask you to continue to observe a high level of hand hygiene, with handwashing facilities and gels at each building entry point.
  • We will be carrying out increased surface cleaning in the communal spaces.
  • You will be required to take a lateral flow test prior to arrival and on Wednesday morning.
  • Our staff will be carrying out lateral flow tests on a twice weekly basis.

Vaccines and Test Results

We currently have no plans to ask writers to prove their vaccine status.

  • Please note that we are not, under any circumstances, able to reimburse travel or other costs which you may have incurred in connection with your booking, and in the event of cancellation by you or by us, our liability to you will be limited to fees you have paid to Arvon.