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Time for transformation

Paris Ackrill, co-founder of Avalon Wellbeing Centre, on how centres of light can support a new way of life
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Time for transformation

This article first appeared in our Ethical Shopping issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 30 October 2020. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

We are facing huge challenges: health, political, social, spiritual, ecological and economic.

Avalon, a state-of-the-art wellbeing centre on the 3,000-acre Broughton Hall Estate, was built to serve in this era of transformation.

The centre of light on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park provides a unique space for inspiration, growth, hope and peace through retreats and gatherings; it is a sanctuary that can play a key role in helping to accelerate a positive change for the human trajectory.

Centres of light are places that can birth new visions – and these new visions must come from each and every one of us.

Seeding change

A few years ago, we felt we were treading lightly around this movement – almost like the world was not fully ready to hear about it.

Now, people are more forthcoming; yearning – consciously and unconsciously – for new ways of being and living, for a new moment on the planet where we can exist in more harmony with each other and with nature.

The world as we know it is breaking down; what is of great importance is what is breaking through. New ideas, inspiration and seeds of change need to be sparked within us and come through us.

We need to take time to question the big, most meaningful questions in life: why are we here, what are we doing and where are we going? Institutions must of course change, but the change ultimately comes from within the hearts of individuals, so it is necessary to look inside. We must come together in powerful, transformational community to realise what is possible.

Avalon hosts a full spectrum of retreats; we curate our own curriculum of consciousness through our ‘Return to Source’ programmes, work in partnerships with thought-leaders and
provide space for retreats from external providers.

Spiritual Davos-style retreats help to inspire change by bringing individuals and leaders together to address the challenges we are facing in order to provide solutions. We also offer help to individual businesses and leaders through Company Culture offerings, which are designed to create more harmonious, balanced and thoughtful enterprises with positive social output.

In May 2021 I will host a women’s retreat with two of my favourite meditation and movement practitioners: English non-dual meditation teacher, spiritual counsellor and psychotherapist Sophie Nevill and Danish yogini and dance practitioner Malou Dee.

There will be abundant opportunity for inner growth, to drop into your essence and expand your transformational toolkit. We will explore meditative movement, energy work, meditation, cacao and womb ceremonies, plus sharing circles and plenty of dancing!

We provide a truly held space that is sensitive to the inner journey; a cradle of nourishment that offers a rich tapestry of experiences. Expect everything from rewilding – of the spirit and the land – to shamanic sound journeys, woodland dining, foraging, forest bathing, sweat lodges and ecstatic outdoor dancing with breathtaking views.

Everyone has their unique journey, which is why it is Avalon’s policy to hold a non-dogmatic space.

We are not trying to push any particular practice or philosophy onto anyone; some people might come here to dip a toe in the water and others might be seeking deep, lasting change in their lives.

Either way, when people leave Avalon we want them to feel connected to their heart, harmonious, content and overflowing with happy memories – or perhaps even thrilled with new possibilities, having experienced deep breakthroughs.

Wellbeing breaks

Nowhere else in the UK offers curated, bespoke retreats with such diversity in the transformational field. Our wellbeing concierge service creates holistic programmes that allow individuals and groups to revel in the art of being. These curated retreats can be for individuals based in one of our holiday homes or house parties in 5* accommodation at the historic Broughton Hall.

From personal training and tai chi to bespoke nutrition, herbal medicine, tree planting and fire temple parties, these holidays make you feel good and help to leave the world a better place.


Keep moving your body in ways that feel good to you. Dance as much as possible – especially if you’re feeling a bit low. Just put on your favourite track and start to move around a little – in a way that feels good to you in your body (it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside!).

Connect to nature as much as you can; take time off social media or your phone and return to simplicity. Find a spot that you love and meditate (or learn to). Breathe deeply.

There are many incredible offerings taking place online at the moment – many of them are very reasonable and they are sometimes free of charge. They provide a great way to explore what works for you. Follow our Instagram page too, as we share offerings through our ‘Circle of Support’.


Sealed with love

Avalon is the UK’s first completely state-of-the-art, non-dogmatic and purpose-built wellbeing centre that is dedicated to the new thought community. The building itself combines the efforts of many highly skilled and talented designers, builders, architects and artisans.

It features local materials and has been designed in harmony with nature – as far as possible around the golden mean, or Fibonacci sequence: nature’s sacred design.

Nature has a calming effect on the mind, so we drew on organic shapes, textures and colours; our sauna and steam room are a rare, organically shaped design (there is only one other sauna like it, and it is in Canada).

We also worked with ritual and intention, so we created and sealed the building with as much love as possible!

Rewilding the spirit

Avalon lies at the heart of the Broughton Hall Estate, which provides 3,000 acres of stunning natural playground to explore – all dedicated to serving a new way of life.
We have activated the land with our Earth Shaman Calen Rayne, who works with energy meridians and acupuncture of the Earth.

Revitalising natural features on the Estate include reservoirs for wild swimming and walking trails to the bronze age Celtic Cairn Circle on the moors. We love creating places where guests can bask in the beauty of nature, such as the Garden of Cosmic Origin, moon baths to connect back to circadian rhythms and huge woodland hammocks that make you feel like you are floating on clouds. There is also a primal sweat lodge, fire temple, meditation labyrinth, hermit hut, ceremonial space and more!

Just as Avalon’s role is to help rewild the spirit, the entire Estate is undergoing a process of managed rewilding that will see a million trees planted over the next few years.

During these soulful times we all need to return to our true nature and source, to connect and find balance. Avalon is the place to do it.

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