Dream comes true as Charlotte Church transform's Laura Ashley's home into wellness retreat
Singer Charlotte Church’s dream of creating a wellness retreat at the former mid Wales home of Laura Ashley has become a reality.
The Dreaming retreat, at Rhydoldog House, Rhayader, is now open, offering, the singer says, an escape from the complexity of modern life, with guests able to choose from short, residential retreats with daily wellness activities to longer retreats with specialist practitioners.
When Charlotte decided to “have a nose” at the property for sale in the Elan Valley she said little did she expect Rhydoldog House to offer her an incredible challenge, allowing her to combine several of her passions in the creation of The Dreaming.
She bought the six-bed mansion in 2018 for £1.5 million and soon discovered that the beautiful house on the outside had many problems on the inside.
The restoration journey was witnessed by TV viewers who watched the documentary series on the Discovery Channel.
Rhydoldog House was transformed from a rundown property into the wellness retreat which, Charlotte says, works both with and for nature.
The grounds boast waterfalls, rocks and caves and an abundance of natural beauty.
Charlotte said: “I have regularly tried to use my platform to campaign for climate action, economic equity, and wellbeing for all. Some of that has turned out to be effective and meaningful, but I always felt there was more I could be doing.
"I think that’s why I fell so utterly in love with Rhydoldog House, as it gave me a vision of an integrated healing centre in line with my most deeply held values. The realisation of that vision has completely changed my life and I hope that we can help our guests change their lives too, even if it’s just in small ways.”
Three-day retreats take place at either the weekend or mid-week and during their stay, guests are offered a wide selection of wellbeing activities.
These include yoga, a sound healing ceremony, foraging, mythic storytelling, star-gazing, cold water immersion, singing at dawn, den building, sensory portal building, painting, dance, dreamwork, outdoor cinema, herbalism, woodwork, meditation, Qi Gong, silent discos and night time forest bathing.
"Guests are invited to participate in as many or as few of these offerings as they like. They can enjoy a very full three days or simply curl up somewhere comfortable in the beautiful surroundings and read a book," said Charlotte.
"Walk through the natural beauty and immerse yourself in special spaces, such as The Waterfall Shower, Wood Henge and The Pool of a Hundred Reflections. For the super adventurous, The Den allows for outdoor sleeping to comfortably experience the nocturnal wildlife."
The Physic Garden provides medicinal herbs for the apothecary, where guests can craft teas, balms, tinctures, soaps and other lotions and potions; while the potting shed is a place for retreaters to mix soils and pot seeds, offering skills and insight into compassionate and responsible horticulture that can be applied when they return home."
Prices start at £450 for three nights including all meals and activities. And, to allow access for people of all means, The Dreaming offers a “pay what you can” space on every three-day retreat.