At the Gathering last year, hosted by Omega Institute in upstate New York, we were delighted to welcome Edmund and Isabelle Colville from West Lexham in Norfolk. West Lexham is a family run business and three generations of the Colville family live on site. The project was conceived as a way to create a future and life for the farm buildings which history had caste aside. But also as a way that the generations might grow up and grow old together in a sustainable way, based on the principles of community and social enterprise, co-creating a place for education, relaxation and celebration.
The estate is an eco-friendly paradise, run on over 90% renewable energy, full of wildlife in the 21 acres of gardens, woods, rivers and lakes, and a rural retreat venue offering barn and en-suite rooms, treehouses and glamping. West Lexham recently renewed their annual membership of HCN and I reached out to appreciate the connection. It was a delight to hear they’re co-ordinating a one day gathering of like minded centers in England, strengthening the peer to peer network in the UK.
Edmund had shared about the Gathering with long term friend Jessie from The Quadrangle in Kent, who had also transformed a family farm into a retreat center, and she felt inspired to convene a local meeting. On Wednesday 11 September the leaders of six centers will be meeting in London to share in the spirit of collaboration. We’re sowing the seeds of this initial meeting evolving into a larger Centers Gathering in the UK in 2021, weaving people and places from Europe too.
Avalon Wellbeing is a Wellbeing Centre in Yorkshire serving both a global audience and the surrounding community, offering unique happenings to serve the mind, body, spirit. Available to hire with an abundance of accommodation on the stunning sanctuary of the 3000 acre Broughton Hall Estate it’s an ideal for retreats, events and corporate wellbeing programs. Discover the perfect synergy for stillness, healing and peace within the whirlwind of modern life.
Wasing Estate is one of Berkshire’s best kept secrets, located near Reading, just 45 miles from London. Enjoy the magical ancient wooded fishing lakes, beautiful parkland and undulating farmland engraved by meandering rivers. At the heart of the Estate lies ‘Wasing Park’ with a variety of venues for festivals and retreats, private and corporate events.
42 Acres have two venues, a rural location in Somerset and an urban setting in Shoreditch, London, the venue for the September gathering. 42 Acres was founded by siblings Lara and Seth in order to consciously create space for connection. Their collaboration was organic. Lara’s work in human rights allowed her to understand that effective outer change must start from within. Seth’s interest in renewable energy and food sustainability cultivated his passion for regenerative farming. Together, their aligned values and beliefs have brought together a unique range of expertise from a diverse group of individuals.
Their city retreat in Shoreditch, London is located in a beautiful Old School House. 42 Acres Shoreditch is a fusion of natural light, peaceful serenity, and powerful community collaboration on a wide variety of events. From yoga sessions to deep meditation, thought-provoking panel discussions to book launches, nutritional therapy to food regeneration, it offers a journey into the inner world through both ancient wisdom and current research.
It’s always inspiring to hear about new centers and discover their beautiful work in the world. Embercombe is the only center in the group that I was already aware of, located on the edge of Dartmoor in Exeter they offer Experience Weekends which take place regularly throughout the year. It is place to find a deep connection with nature – wild nature around us and wild nature within us. It is a place to breathe, to reconsider, to regenerate and to relearn. It is a place to get clear on what it is you have to offer the world and become passionate about who you are and what you do. It is a place to join the conversation, pick up the skills and get started.
The Quadrangle is a peaceful venue and retreat centre in Shoreham, Kent, just 40 minutes from central London. As people and organisations, many of us are asking big questions about our life and work, and seeking new ways of doing things. The Quadrangle offers a unique space for such enquiry. The natural setting creates the opportunity to step back, think more clearly and allow new perspectives to emerge. The family have looked after the Quadrangle for over four decades, and in 2007 it was established as a trust to protect its architecture and wildlife.
Each center is unique in style and offerings, however there are so many areas of interest to all; programming, sustainability, hospitality and staffing to name just a few. Later this month we’ll share news of the gathering. If you’re involved in running a retreat center, we invite you to join the conversation between us all as it continues to unfold.