There are many ways to find inner peace that then flows outwards to meet others and the world around. It transforms into compassion and compassionate action. We encourage compassion wherever you are: in your relationships, community and society. We are all relying on support from others in one way or another. If you would like to support us in manifesting our vision of ‘Inner Peace for a Compassionate World’ then here are some ways you can contribute:
Contribute as a volunteer
Our volunteers support us in making a difference to our guest experience. We are deeply grateful for their contribution and we couldn’t offer the space without them.
We offer volunteering opportunities that facilitate contact with nature, where you can meet new people and get active in a beautiful natural landscape.
Volunteering can be a meaningful social experience where you can receive from, and give to, this little piece of heaven on earth. Ideal for folk in our local community. Monday morning is our regular spot to come together in community and be in service to the space for a maximum of 3 hours. We start at 9.30 with a check in and work towards lunch at 1 with a tea break and home baking at half time. If you would like to volunteer but can’t make a Monday, let us know and there may be a way to do so at a time to suit.
… the breeze, the trees, the honey bees – All volunteers
Contribute and support via a Residential Exchange
On a residential exchange you become more deeply involved with the offering of the space – a being of service and our expectations of you are mutually so.
We value authenticity, integrity, honesty and self-awareness.
We have put together an outline of our offer and our expectations as a result of our residential exchange hosting experience so far. We find that it helps to clarify how we do work exchanges and what is expected of someone who comes to support us. Expectations have a greater chance of being met for both parties, if there is good communication prior to any arrangements, leading to a more all-round, fulfilling experience.
What our previous residential exchangers have said…
Peter Stanhope from UK
“What a wonderful place Cherry Tree Lodge is. In late April of 2021 I stayed for just shy of 7 weeks. Mark and Till are kind, thoughtful and provide an environment that is truly peaceful. On a typical day at Cherry Tree Lodge, the work can be tailored to your strengths. I helped resculpt areas of their grounds. The garden provides natural habitat for all creatures. The results of undertaking such a help to nature are there to be seen. With Roe deer being a regular sighting, birds of many varieties-with special mention to the Swallows that dance through the air aerodynamically. Nature interacts with you here, as Till and Mark provide a safe space for nature to flow as it can, in balance and harmony. That safe space runs as a theme for how you can feel emotionally when living at Cherry Tree Lodge. You will be encouraged to speak about how you are feeling as a part of the morning breakfast chat. This allows for freedom without judgment in verbal expression. The house itself is a dream location, with this amazing decking space that you can sit, watching the Ochills that stretch along the skyline, with Ben Lomond in the further view. It’s a view that just keeps delivering visual treats as the days go along. Mark and Till have volunteers who come to help with the garden on Sundays. Lovely people who bring their own shine to Cherry Tree Lodge. The food is consistently delicious and catered for my vegetarian diet. Diverse, flavoursome and nutritious. Meditations take place in the morning in a room that has a truly calm energy about it. I’d recommend visiting Cherry Tree Lodge if you are along the spiritual path, as Mark and Till have knowledge to share, with kindness on offer. Lovely people, in an environment that helps inner peace.”
Ping – Yi Lee from Taiwan
“I stayed here about three months. I just can say the period I stay in Cherry Tree Lodge is the one changed my life the fastest and the most crucially. Mark and Till built a wonderful and safe environment to let people who is willing to enquiry themselves to explore their internal world. I received much sincere love and supports from them! And I connected with them profoundly!
I joined two events happened in Cherry Tree Lodge. Helpers could arrange their days off to join some retreats (need to ask in advance) in Cherry Tree Lodge. And I also deepened my spiritual practices, meditation and yoga, when I stayed. If you are a spiritual seeker, don’t miss the chance!
I really enjoy the food and accommodation here! I always have my individual place, both mentally and physically. Although sometimes I need to change my room by the need of guests of retreat, my own room was always cozy and warm! And food here was nutritious and delicious! Mark is a great chef! I am now missing his cuisines!
My duties here were various. If there is no retreat, my jobs were almost outdoors. Just like the profile said. And if retreats were happening, I helped indoors. Jobs were modest. I saw them as practices. Mark and Till could be your good friends, listeners, mirrors if you open your heart! Sharing experiences on spiritual journey to them was awesome. Being understood on spirituality is rare and wonderful. I must take morning check in back to Taiwan and practice with my family! Hope they wouldn’t think I’m over sharing. Haha! Connections with heart are really precious.
Recommend people who are mature enough,open-minded, having stable mentalities, getting well along with self to apply!
The profile is accurate. So I think I don’t need to write too much about practicality!
Last but not the least, Mark and Till, I love you! Hope we could meet each others again! Taiwan, the Uk, another place in the world! Thanks for your receiving!”
Claudia Rehklau from Germany
“My stay here was wonderful in all aspects. Mark and Till are very welcoming, hearty, knowledgeable and fine company. We always had nice and interesting chats as well as many occasions to laugh together. I immediately felt at home. Their beautiful old, restored mansion is well organised, clean and looked after. The interior design is pleasant and warm with several spaces to spend your free time, for example an annexe out of glass with views to the Ochil hills, or the meditation room.
The information provided before arriving is exact, straightforward and detailed. You know what is expected from you and what you can expect. The same when you are there. Every morning with breakfast there is a check-in where you can tell about your feelings, thoughts or worries, and after that the duties and events of the day are told. I should not forget to mention the delicious meals prepared with healthy ingredients.
As it is a retreat place, both for their own courses as well as facilitating other’s retreats, courses and workshops, you’ll meet yoga teachers, artists and all kind of interesting people in a spiritual atmosphere. Often you interact with them during a meal or while they visit the gardens. Mark is a heartfulness meditation hotspot, and once a week a bunch of local people join for a meditation evening. Also inspiring are Till’s and Mark’s ideas for further projects, extending their guests facilities and creating new spaces for humans and wildlife on the property.
The work is outside (you have to be prepared for all weather) and 6 hours can be a long time. I did for 2 weeks pretty much the same thing which might be boring or hard for some volunteers, for me it was very comfortable and meditative, and after 2 or 3 days I became really dedicated to my job and enjoyed it. Your eyes catch the stunning views of the surroundings and you see the beauty of nature.
I’m looking forward to volunteer again at Cherry Tree Lodge!”
David Hoare from Australia
“Hi, I was here 7th of June till 21st of June, this experience was great, hard work, but organised and thought out. Advert is accurate and clear. Mark and Till are good people who communicate well. Good work on what you guys have going and good luck with future progressions, cheers! 🙂 ‘Cool!’ “
Gaya Ilan from Israel
“I stayed with Mark and Till during January for two weeks and had an amazing time. Starting from the skype we scheduled prior to my arrival and continue to every day of my staying I felt that I was in good company. Mark and Till were warm and welcoming and made me feel just like home. The house itself is well equipped and you are provided with everything you need – both physical and spiritual. During your working day you receive three meals a day, and all the support you need, I had countless talks with both Mark and Till and each one was meaningful for me, something important since during working hours you are mostly by yourself.
Working-wise: Just as they wrote in the listing the work is not easy, for me it was mostly log splitting, and the weather was quite cold, with lots of snow, but after a while you get used to it. You need to be ready for physical work outside and take into consideration that the weather in Scotland is quite unpredictable, I had all four seasons during one working day!
So the work is difficult, and sometimes you find yourself doing the same thing for several hours in a row, which can be challenging quite often but also gives you time and space to work some things out of your mind.
As I said when I finished – for me the time in Cherry Tree Lodge was like a working retreat, and just like the new moto for the place is, I really did felt like I nourished body, mind and soil, in a beautiful area that otherwise I would never have known. “
Ruben Benichou-Frontin from France
“I should stay 2 weeks and I stayed 3 weeks.
Honestly, I’ve spent amazing weeks for these reasons :
Mark&Till are very friendly, make you feel confortable all the time.
We had longs and very interesting discussions during these weeks, they have a good spirituality and a nice vision a life.
My aim was to improve my english and Till and Mark were always speaking with me, and giving advice! (Till even gave me a notebook to write all the words that I didn’t know).
The area is beautiful, and the house is very confortable.
They expect 6 hours a day, 5 days/week and 2 days off. That is very very flexible.
You MUST ABSOLUTELY KNOW that working 6 hours in Cherry Tree Lodge is difficult, the work is hard (dig a trench, lift and split wood all the time, do weeding…).
So, if you don’t want to work hard, Cherry Tree Lodge is NOT a place for you at all.
So okay, the work is difficult, but in return, you have very good food, a good place to live, and a spiritual and peace life.
During days off, I visited different places, especially Glasgow with Mark. We spent an amazing day!
We shared so many things in both sides (massage, playing guitar, deep conversations, laughter…)
I totally recommend Mark&Till,
Thank you for this share, I hope to see you again.
Best to you,
Hannah Ditzler from Germany
“My stay here was wonderfull. The place is absolutly stunning with a very peacefull atmosphere. BUT the work, as already described in the other reviews, is hard and there is always something to do. I spend a lot of the time weeding and clearing a bed. Besides that I dug a trench, stacked wood, sanded skirting boards, worked on a path of bark mulch, cleaned windows and floors and washed the dishes after dinner.
Mark and Till are lovely and they want to make sure you feel at home. If you are interested in meditation or spirituality in genereal, this is a great place to learn, practice and talk about it. 🙂
The food is excellent and a big thanks for cooking vegan! It was a really great experience I don’t want to miss. Aho!”
Devin Buntin from United States
“I stayed with Mark and Till for 2 weeks, but I wish it was longer. It was my first exchange experience, and there were a lot more “firsts” for me throughout my entire visit. They are the sweetest guys. They were patient when I didn’t understand how to do certain things, and gave positive feedback which was reassuring. Till is very funny, and Mark has a smile that can pierce straight through to your soul, making it impossible not to smile back. Both Mark and Till are incredibly level-headed and the balance and openness they maintain in their relationship is inspiring. You can tell that they love what they do and take pride in their work and their process.
If you have read their profile fully, and feel you are a good fit for them, I strongly encourage you to contact them. I wasn’t even planning to go to Scotland on this year’s trip, but I’m glad I did and grateful for the experience and the bonds that were formed. Leaving was the hardest part.”
Ruben S from Spain
“I spent 2 weeks with Mark and Till.
I’m sorry to write the review so late but, manly due to my experience in Cherry Tree Lodge I’ve had a very busy life since then 😉
First of all, must say that the place cannot be better to have a contemplative experience and to rethink your life, neither the hosts can’t: really close and kind, Mark and Till have made me feel like at home and the talk with them is a really interesting must.
On the other hand, I must warn it’s not a stay to relax and just meditate: the work is hard, the place is extremely beautiful but it has its cost to look after it. There’s always jobs to do and can be a challenge to be able to finish all the jobs! But, you’re relaxing moments will be unbeatable!
The food is fantastic and I’ll never forget the awesome breakfasts! The accommodation excellent! Everything is ready for you to give your best sustaining this charming place in order for others to be able to enjoy it.
I was thinking about moving to Edinburgh to improve my English and at the end, thanks to Mark and Till’s encouragement and the environment that this B&B provides I moved here! And since then I haven’t had so much free time to write the review earlier!
I hope more people will be lit by this place and its people as I’ve been, take care of it and keep it with the same nostalgia as I’ve got it in my memories!!
Lots of hughs!!
PD: Extremely recommended to spend some time meditating and having a read to their books! “
Noelia Diaz Prieto from Spain
“I spent two weeks here. I found there the perfect scenario to start my 7 weeks travel to Scotland, live new experiences and get a gratefulness and partnership feeling that have made my trip incredibly enjoyable and unforgettable.
Authenticity and vitality, that’s what I most enjoyed from Mark and Till, who definitely made me feel at home, I even had a birthday dinner, awesome. Regarding the task to be done, as they say, they give a lot and they ask for a lot.
I worked for the six hours required, freely distributed during the day/week before or after the meals (7:30 Breakfast, 12:30 lunch, 6:30 Dinner). Mostly working on my own. Quite enjoyable to be able to see the results of the weeding I was getting done and quite a lot of constancy and energy required. There is no much chance of travelling during the working days. Many nice choices for day trips for your days off.
The whole experience worked out really good for me. A real pleasure to meet Mark, Till and Alex (another helper). I contributed to the Cherry Tree Lodge project. I got quality accommodation and food, free of expenses and I shared great moments with them and the guests (enjoying nature, mothing, personal conversations, cooking, being in the zone).
Excellent quality human relationship. Thanks given to helpers for the tasks done, feelings sharing, honesty, open mind, sensible house rules, respect. Nice people to share your time with. It was a great life experience for me. All the best. Thanks so much. 😉 “
Alexandre Piccoli from France
“First I would like to thank warmly Mark and Till for their hospitaliy and kindness. Cherry Tree Lodge is an amazing place in the country side, peaceful and calm. Very well located if you plan to travel to Edinburgh, the Highlands or the coast.
The work is not easy. It could be some repetitive tasks or hard physical labor. There is always something in Cherry Tree Lodge. Mark and Till try to give you different jobs as much as it is possible though. It is definitely a fair work exchange. They always said to me: more you give, more you receive. It’s a bit like: what you do is what you get. The accomodation is fantastic, the food is awesome and they really care about your well-being.
It’s been very interesting to stay with you guys, I have learn much more about myself, I have met lovely guests and I hope you’ll go on to manage Cherry Tree Lodge like this. I left a part of myself there and I look forward to join the CTL team again!
Thanks again Mark, Till, Allan (all of them), Kate, Ron, Marco, Noelia, Lauren, who made my stay unforgettable.
Angel Garcia Melgar from Spain
“I have just been,again, with Mark and Till. This has been the third time, and this has been the longer. If the first and the second time were a very good time by the reasons I wrote in my previous review after my first visit, this time has been even better. With the time you rejoice more and more in the many subtle and clear blessings that this place holds. Mark and Till have and are creating a peaceful, relaxing, transformative, uplifting, inspiring oasis in the middle of a beautiful landscape.
I remember the first day of this third visit that Till asked me why I came here again and my swift answer was “because both are you are very authentic”. And I meant it because in their authenticity lies the secret of this place.
So I want to say again, if you want a real experience in a helpx place,maybe different than the expected helpx experience, in a beautiful landscape then I recommend you very much to go there. If you have been already there and you know how it is, just to tell you that a second time will be even better. In Cherry Tree Lodge there is the magic that I have seen in just very few places, the more you give the more you get. I want to finish this review expressing again my full gratitude to them for all they have given me in my stay there. Thank you very much,Mark and Till, and keep on evolving the work you are doing there, I wish you all the best!!!”
Jacob White from United States
“I had a wounderful time with Mark and Till helping them to split and stack firewood and also with some work around the garden. The work was physically demanding but offered me a chance to reflect and think while staying in shape.
During my off time and on breaks I was always very well fed( no easy task for an eater such as myself) and both the food and conversation that I had during my stay were nourishing.
I had fun, worked hard, thought deep, and ate well with these fun and compassionate men.
Thanks Brothers, I look forward to seeing you again.”
Claire Stewart from United Kingdom
“This was my second time volunteering here. The two weeks went so fast as there was plenty to do in the garden. I enjoyed concentrating on a particular area of the land/garden each day or every couple of days, as it felt like undertaking and completing mini-projects. The only down side was having to leave – it would have been great to stay on and nurture the garden more! It was lovely to see Mark and Till again, to see how the grounds have developed over the last year, and also hear all about their ongoing and future plans.”
Blai Gonzalex Guell from Spain
“I lived with Mark and Till for two amazing weeks between August and September. After my stay in Cherry tree lodge I can tell you that they are seriously looking for someone capable of doing a great job,someone capable of carry with what’s need to be done because there is a lot of work to do, It was really hard work.
Leaving behind working as a volunteer, in Cherry tree lodge I found two men with great dreams and with loads of courage to make sure that those dreams can be part of their reality. No matter how long it takes, now matter what it takes, they will be accomplished. Mark and Till are different in many ways but they share the same background, the same values… I’d love to recommend this place to open-minded people and with really love for nature, art and welfare or all of them.
I can also say that it’s a good place to go if you need to make any reflection about some aspects of your life.
I really wish them all the luck in the world to do all the thinks they’re doing and for the things they’re going to do. If you thing you can match with all the things written before is because you are that Xhelper, don’t waste this opportunity.
Danko Alorvor from Croatia
“Mark and Till were excellent hosts over the 2 and a half weeks I was at Cherry Tree Lodge. I very much enjoyed our exchanges during the day including the structured sharing time. One can see how their nurturing spirit and thoughtfulness goes into their care for the place and their guests. I came to Scotland with the intention of working and studying for at least a year and helpxing was a way for me to ease into the new environment. They were very helpful, offering suggestions to various challenges I faced – even helping review my CV.
This was my first time helpxing. My main duty was splitting and stacking wood, which was quite tedious, and as stated in their description, one must be in good shape to clear a reasonable amount of the daily tasks. Although for two weeks in the beautiful space it’s not a bad deal, and I felt appreciated for the effort I put in.
The meals were wholesome and filling, and on occasion were shared with guests, who were very pleasant and our interactions really were an enjoyable part of my stay. The same goes for the day spent helping out at the neighbours’.
I hope to return again sometime and can’t wait to see how the future projects turn out. All the best to you, Mark and Till. Aho!”
Anu Kuivanen from Finland
“I spent two weeks in June here, helping with weeding in the garden and log splitting. As this was my first time as a helper, I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but everything what Mark and Till have written on their profile is accurate.
Cherry Tree Lodge is a beautiful secluded place in rural Scotland, quite a distance from Edinburgh or Glasgow. Place is surrounded with farms, fields and hills, so it is very peaceful and quiet. I enjoyed listening to birds and farm animals and occasional motor roaring from Knockhill racing circuit 🙂
I worked 6hours/5 days a week, with an opportunity to work longer or shorter days if wanted. On my freetime I had opportunity to meditate, walk around the garden and surroundings, just relax and enjoy being, there are plenty of books to read that Mark can recommend. I was offered lifts to/from busses whenever it was possible.
Both Mark and Till are very considerate, compassionate, friendly and fun hosts, who really seem to appreciate and care for their helpers.
Mark is an excellent cook and bakes yummy cakes and I enjoyed our conversations about life during our teabreaks.
Till has a large knowledge about animals, plants and I especially loved learning about different birds.
I hope all the best to Mark and Till and hope all their dreams about Cherry Tree Lodge will come true. I hope to return to Cherry Tree Lodge one day and see how things are coming along and hope to be able to help out again.
All in all, I enjoyed my time with Mark and Till, enjoying time away from every day hectic life. I felt comfortable and at home.
Ernesto Carbajo from Spain
“This was my second exchange experience and was a great experience! Mark & Till are very kind happy respectful and with good humor sense. I spent more time with Mark cause Till had to travel to his country, Mark was so patient with my English and always try to speak slowly for me he has a lot of live experiences, with Till only spent a few hours chopping wood but I think that is a great man!
My work here was simple splitting wood 6 h per day, sometimes was bored because I worked alone and doing the same thing! Also a help to Mark in the kitchen when he need me!
The accommodation and the food was awesome!! Mark is a great chef!! Sorry for the garlic!!
Nice time I had the possibility to spend with Simon, nice man and big plays with Halaka!
The place is amazing in the countryside many footpaths to walk.. Perfect place to relax your mind!
If your are looking for a natural place in where thinking about yourself with nice company that’s is your place!
Thanks for all, Best wishes with your projects