The Orchard

... is the meditation and healing centre established by Sonia Moriceau and her partner Ad Brugman since 1985

The Orchard is situated on the borders of England and Wales near the Black Mountains and close to the Golden Valley. Its setting is rural and peaceful with a touch of wilderness without being remote.

The centre offers a spacious and beautiful zendo for practice and comfortable, simple accommodation for up to 15 people.

From 1997 to 2003 it was the chosen venue in the UK for the late Venerable NAMGYAL RINPOCHE to hold his retreats, a place of refuge where the practice of mindfulness is tangible.

THE ORCHARD MEDITATION CENTRE

The Orchard, this beautiful place set in a rural hamlet on the border between S.Herefordshire and Wales, was bought in December 1985. It was bought to serve as a place for teaching and the practice of healing-shiatsu, mindfulness meditation and T’ai-Ji.

Sonia was running at that time her three year professional training course in healing-shiatsu and Ad his T’ai-Ji programme. Meditation retreats were then forming a smaller part in the curriculum though they were also taught as an integral part of the healing-shiatsu and T’ai-Ji courses.

In September 1986 The Orchard, its activities and all those who would come and benefit from it, was blessed in a ceremony by John Garrie Roshi, Sonia’s and Ad’s meditation teacher since 1974.

By 1990 the facilities at The Orchard became insufficient for the number of participants on its courses. For that reason from 1990 to 1995 all healing-shiatsu courses and the longer meditation and T’ai-Ji courses were held at Taliaris, the meditation centre of John Garrie Roshi in mid Wales. The Orchard was housing the smaller events.

In 1995 the “zendo“ a large wooden building was built at The Orchard to provide more space for the teachings and practice. It was blessed by John Garrie Roshi in September 1995.

From that time onwards all events took again place at The Orchard and Sonia began to decrease her healing-shiatsu courses to have more time to devote to the meditation retreats as these became more predominant in the curriculum and since 2006 have become the main activity of the Orchard Centre.

In 2007 Sonia and Ad ‘s students formed the Orchard Sangha as a response to the demands made on both Sonia and Ad as teachers and organizers of the Orchard leaving more time for them to devote to the teachings.

In 1997 the Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche was invited to teach in the UK for which purpose The Orchard was made available. From then on until his death in October 2003 The Orchard received Rinpoche for his annual, sometime twice a year, teachings in the UK. Rinpoche also became Sonia’s and Ad’s main meditation teacher since Roshi’s passing in 1998.

In 1999 the Crystal Group bought Maitreya House next door to The Orchard. Since 2001 The Orchard is renting Maitreya House for its retreats providing the necessary accommodation for students. In addition in 2005 one of Sonia’s students bought a house nearby, Cwn Cottage, which has also become part of the set up, providing extra accommodation.

Throughout the years The Orchard has become a second home for many of its students. It is a place of simplicity and of internal beauty and strength, situated in a still unspoilt and quiet rural countryside overlooking gentle rolling hills towards the south and east with the Welsh Black Mountains of the Brecon National Park marking the west. It offers an abundance of natural environment in which to practice, to walk in or just resting and enjoying. It offers the perfect antidote for a busy and noisy world most of us now live in.

May it continue to support, nurture and enrich many more people who come and stay, be it for a short or longer time.