Switching lanes from the bright lights of the music industry into the world of wellness, Charlotte Church founded The Dreaming in a bid to encourage others to reconnection with nature; the antidote to modern living. Documented on the TV show ‘Charlotte Church’s Dream Build’ the vision of transforming Rhydoldog House, formerly owned by Laura Ashley, into a wellness retreat was inspired by a trip to the Elan Valley in mid-Wales. After falling head over heels in love with the land, Charlotte found an innate desire to share this slice of Welsh heaven with the world through her lens.
Spanning 47 acres of flora and fauna, the feral landscape that cradles the house is what inspires most of what goes on at The Dreaming. Encompassing a dense woodland, waterfalls, natural plunge pools and endless rolling fields, the grounds are yours to explore… nowhere is off limits and wandering with open eyes is encouraged. The land possesses a magnetic energy that is undeniably powerful, unlocking a new sense of appreciation for nature in its wildest form. Rooted in Celtic traditions, spiritual healing and ceremonial rituals, nature is the bow that ties The Dreaming together, charting the course for each one-of-a-kind itinerary.
Plucked straight from the pages of a fairytale, the country manor exudes a distinctly feminine charm, meticulously designed to envelop retreaters, instilling comfort and belonging the moment they step across the enchantingly adorned front door. Nestled within the walls of the abode, you’ll find a captivating tapestry of design elements, seamlessly blending artisanal woven macramé, dried blooms draped decoratively and the rustic allure of raw materials.
The Refectory serves as the central dining area, overlooking the breathtaking view of the valley. It’s the place where guests frequently come together to chat over herbal tea or to curl up on the sofa with heads buried in a novel in The Cwtch, otherwise known as the cuddle nook. Bathed in the gentle embrace of natural light streaming in through the sash windows, The Healing Room embodies its name with unparalleled grace. Transcending the ordinary, it stands as a sacred sanctuary, at the very heart of the transformative experiences. Here, you are encouraged to shed your armour and embrace vulnerability. Serenaded by an ensemble of gongs and singing bowls, The Healing Room exudes an aura that effortlessly soothes your soul, setting you at ease for whatever conversations are sparked in this safe space.
There’s a plethora of reasons The Dreaming calls in kindred spirits, whether they’re there to heal from trauma, deal with heartbreak, delve deeper into wellbeing, get back to nature or escape the bustle of everyday life. Open to all, each retreat hosts a mix of guests from different backgrounds to get back to nature whilst nurturing the soul. All judgment is stripped away, inviting open conversations that are confidential, contribute as much or as little as you please. Embracing communal living is a fundamental aspect of The Dreaming’s ethos, fostering friendships to bloom.
Depending on whether you visit solo or with loved ones, the rooms cater to all, with shared rooms and single occupancy options to choose from. Each room boasts its own distinctive design flair, with a moniker that paints the picture. For instance, ‘The Dawn’ is vibrant and radiant, made up of sunset hues and an altar paying homage to solar deities, whereas ‘The Womb’ embraces warm pinks and gentle flowing fabrics, celebrating the essence of womanhood, both wonderfully distinct in their own right.
Bringing in a roster of staff members from far and wide, each retreat is divinely orchestrated by an incredible bunch of people who will make your experience that little bit more special. The eclectic mix of individuals bring various quirky skills and practices to impart their wisdom into the offerings, as well as basic mental health training to be able to assist anyone who needs it. Forming the backbone of The Dreaming, these people effortlessly spark profound conversations where everybody’s voice is heard.
The Dreaming hosts two 3-night retreats weekly, ‘The Nurturer’- Tuesday to Friday and ‘The Journeyer’- Friday to Monday. Etched into the chalkboard, you’ll find the myriad of curated wellbeing experiences that await you each day. Nature, sound, movement, crafts and ceremonies are the pillars that form the foundations of the offerings, and there’s an array of avenues your retreat may take you on. The Dreaming pulls in world-class practitioners and artists in residences to present an epic mix of ancient rituals, trailblazing wellness practices and outlandish disciplines to infuse fresh enthusiasm into each day.
While one day may encompass a spellbinding sound healing ceremony, open-air yoga in the teahouse, cold water immersion and fireside talks with marshmallow toasting, others may commence at the crack of dawn with a cathartic silent disco barefoot in the fields booging to Beyonce, followed by forest bathing in the cedar woods, nature crafting and celestial star-gazing to finish off the day. The options of the land are endless, facilitating tranquil meditation sessions, foraging, big walks, woodwork, Qi Gong and more.
The thread that remains consistent throughout each day on every retreat is the morning gathering, a chance to check in with each other in the form of a roundtable conversation or creative activity. Although they may not seem the most exciting from afar, their true allure resides in their capacity to navigate the intricate tapestry of each individual’s emotions and experiences, spiralling into what may be happening in the outside world that brought them to this place. In this sacred space, all are bound by the obligation to give their undivided attention to the speaker, listening intently, without criticism.
Amidst creative purists, ceremonial rituals, wellness workshops and meditative activities you’ll find pockets of time to simply relish in the divine house and idyllic wilderness. Digital detoxing is encouraging and quite frankly is necessary to truly immerse into the experience fully…plus there is no service or WiFi, so embrace the great outdoors, finish that book you’ve been meaning to read or put pen to paper and let your mind run free journaling.
The Dreaming beckons you to uncover your true, authentic self in an atmosphere where nothing is contrived, every element flows effortlessly from the conversations and connections to the waterfalls and rolling hills. Arrive with an open heart and expect laughter, tears and boundless joy as you take on an undulating odyssey of self-discovery. Time warps in the safe haven of Rhydoldog House, an energy of the highest dose is found in this fortress that helms a sense of freedom to dig into hidden treasures and rekindle a deep appreciation for your personal brilliance.
Click here to learn more about The Dreaming
words by Isabelle Shury