Plantation Villa Story By Charlotte Evans

Plantation Villa, Ruxton Farm Herefordshire Founder and Manager: Ishara

Ishara has opened a retreat wrapped within the beautiful Herefordshire countryside. A retreat where you can go to recharge, and learn about the Ayurveda lifestyle.

Ayurveda is a science practised over thousands of years, has tried and true remedies for maintaining a life of happiness and health. Ayurveda teaches us that we create our state of emotional, spiritual and physical health based on how we react with our environment. By learning to make diet and lifestyle choices to support our highest alignment, to reach infinite balance.

Many retreats now have become more of a fad, where you go for a couple of days, maybe hand in your phone and consequently feel like you’ve put in some hard spiritual and mental work just by handing over this device. This is not what Plantation Villa offers. A lot of real hard work has to go in to living this lifestyle, to listening to your body, mind and spirit, and understanding how the environment can impact these negatively, to keep you off balance. To learning how to combat when this happens and to live in alignment with oneself.


Ishara worked as a banker in London for many years, but after a health scare for which Ishara has fully recovered, she was left a little lost, a lot unhappy. Even after coming through the other side and beating the scare, which is an incredible feat.

Ishara spent time trying to fill her cup full of happy by carrying out the usual routine of buying new items, new clothes, drinking, trips away, reading all the self-help books out there but none of it helped, or at least no long term support.

At this point, Ishara decided to ask a doctor’s advice and they encouraged meditation. Ishara, desperate at this point, visited a Buddhist temple where they practised the art of meditation. After the session, the monk offered Ishara to stay indefinitely. Ishara accepted this offer, and the rules that came. No phone, no talking to anyone, meditation at least 10 hours per day, 1 hour spent helping the community whether washing the dishes after dinner, cooking, or cleaning the toilets. Everyone chipped in. This was such an extreme change to the life Ishara previously lived. Every possible distraction taken away, so you can explore yourself, find within yourself the answer you’re looking for. The answers that have always been there, but you needed to cut through all the noise to see. No social media to tweet that you are #findingyourself, or TV to flood your senses, no music, no phone calls, no talking, no coffee, no sugar, just yourself and your meditation. Seems quite overwhelming and almost an impossibility, but those were the rules and Ishara accepted them without argument.

After a month at the temple, Ishara decided to return to her daily life and one thing that stood out so completely was the peace she felt. Any incident that arose that would have irritated in the past, now washed over her without even an acknowledgement. Ishara felt completely different, felt happiness from within when she had absolutely nothing around her. All of the things she once felt she needed; a career in banking, a fancy car, an iPad, these cravings all fell away after extensive work at the monastery. Once you see things through a different lens, maybe it’s hard to ever think back to how you used to see, especially when these new lenses are giving you 20/20 vision.

Plantation Villa Retreat Sri Lanka

I would have used the word ‘inspired’ but this is nowhere near strong enough to describe the change Ishara felt, enough so that Ishara travelled to Sri Lanka, a small village where her father grew up and still lived, to open up what is now Plantation Villa. High level overview is that Ishara wished to give back to the community. Opening a retreat where all guests can learn the Ayurveda way of life.

Plantation Villa in Sri Lanka now employees 45 people and most live on the land with their families. The profits from Plantation Villa go straight back into the community and currently funds the school, temples, and healthcare in the local area. They decided to practise veganism as opting for meat in this small village would have had a direct impact on the wild stock. They grow all their food from their lush gardens and rice paddies and as sustainable as they can be. The team reforest on the land, and take in animals where they can.

Ishara, with her goal in hand, provided for the community in such an epic way that the village in Sri Lanka would be very different today, and many lives would not have been changed for the better. To someone else, to put others so completely before oneself is unthinkable but not for Ishara, who believes living and working for the community is living and working for oneself.

When covid hit and no guests could travel to the Villa due to restrictions, Ishara had to ask herself why she coined Plantation Villa in the first place. It would have been easier to accept the situation and close Plantation Villa to save what money they could but Ishara, once answering this question, knew that Plantation Villa would stay open to keep housing and paying her employees and to continue funding the local community. The team kept busy by posting free content to their YouTube and social media channels, from recipes, talks, and yoga sessions. Even planting trees on their land to help reforestation. Check out links to their YouTube page or all this fantastic content which is still free today.

After a couple of months, and when it was clear that covid was overstaying its welcome but completely oblivious and unashamed, the team found donations and funding in the form of their guests. Guests that had stayed at Plantation Villa and found their lives changed; the mindset altered. This allowed Plantation Villa to continue their local efforts and financial support. The team felt such gratitude to these guests, but also gratitude to themselves, for staying true and honest to who they are.

Plantation Villa Retreat Herefordshire

Ishara, after time, wished to expand and move back to the UK, so the launch of Plantation Villa in Herefordshire was a natural progression.

Finding Ruxton Farm was a dream, but a pipe dream at that! The farm was exactly what the team has envisioned, surrounded by countryside, accommodation, space for yoga halls, meditation, spas, and room for expansion. However, when word spread that the team had found the perfect spot but unable to go ahead due to finances, Plantations Villas guests provided additional funds to make sure they secured the property to carry on their work. If that isn’t testimonial enough, I do not know what is…

Many guests reach out to Plantation Villa, Herefordshire, for retreats post bouts of depression, break-ups, physical illness, family issues, yoga, or to learn more around Ayurveda and the way of living. The team find that they create lasting relationships with their guests, they become more of an extended family, helping each other learn and evolve from one another.


  • Life Coaching sessions – book a life coaching consultation with Ishara and receive expert guidance on how to become the best version of yourself.
  • Therapeutic Yoga
  • Guided Meditation
  • Free time to explore the local area
  • Accommodation in a wonderful farmhouse, offering stunning views of the rolling hills.
  • Great location, just a short walk to the river wye and various quaint pubs.
  • Spa and massages
    Monk Talks – learn from the very best of us.
  • 3 nutritious meals, including cooking sessions and tips – understand why digestion is at the forefront of the Ayurveda practice.
  • Ayurveda practical lifestyle skills which includes diet and nutrition, lifestyle and an understanding of what works for you.
  • Doctor consultation (Ayurveda) – small illnesses/diseases, menstrual cycles.

Ishara is in the process of sponsoring some of their workforce from Plantation Villa in Sri Lanka, to bring decades of expertise over to the UK!

Ishara still stays friendly with the monks she met at the Amaravati Temple, still visiting them from time to time. The monks will now start visiting Plantation Villa every month or so to give talks to their guests, and to ultimately spread their wisdom.


Ayurveda believes that poor digestion is the root cause of all disease and that by ignoring an unpleasant digestive response to eating or drinking a particular food/substance, you are denying yourself the opportunity to learn more about what does and does not work for you.

Many guests have found that they have lost weight learning about this way of life and then gaining the practical tools to take into their everyday life.

Charity Efforts

Ishara has already started reaching out to various charities within the local area to support. The team have already donated much of their land to the reforestation initiative. And best of all, they have already adopted a dog who is now completely loved and maybe the happiest dog I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Sustainability Efforts

Their sustainability level at Plantation Villa, Herefordshire, is not yet at the high standard of Plantation Villa, Sri Lanka. This is due to many factors such as the climate being very different here in terms of starting their own vegetable garden and the fact that they are still finding their feet, working out what works here, different from Sri Lanka. Their plans and goals are in full swing nonetheless so watch this space for further updates.


The team have witnessed many transformations from guests of Plantation Villa and this can come in many forms. However a transformation or a 180 degree from the life you are currently living to one of Ayurveda is not necessary on departure. You get back whatever you put in and Plantation Villa is flexible around how you use your time at the retreat. Its your journey after all. You can book a 1 day yoga intensive course, or a 7 day retreat where your focus will be on the nutrition aspect or a month long visit, where you wish to learn all about the Ayurveda way of living. Whatever your reasons for visiting and whatever you wish to get out of your retreat, the Plantation Villa team are there to support you every step of the way.

Book your retreat now