December 11th, 2016

Interview: Isabelle Winkler

We sat down with the brains behind the heavenly retreat in Norfolk that goes by West Lexham.

We were honoured to be invited up to shoot the new BEX ROX campaign in mid Autumn where we were able to take advantage of the crisp morning, watching the sun rays beam through the morning frost over the lake and through the topiary.

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West Lexham is a secret haven in Norfolk, about half an hour from the coast. Once a dilapidated farmyard, it has been reimagined by the current owners as an agri-chic bolt hole for those who want to get out into nature without loosing the comfort of a warm bed. With everything from bohemian bell tents, fabulous tree-houses and tactile barn-conversions to choose from each stay can be customised to every guest’s exacting needs, all in the knowledge that the holiday will be easy on the carbon footprint as the property is run 90% on renewables and has it’s own fresh spring water running through all the taps.

 

Run by Izzy Winkler and Edmund Colville, West Lexham offers a number of different unique properties for workshops, retreats, events and gatherings. Over the years, the couple have hosted big thinkers, mediators, innovators and change makers in a bid to dream up a future we can say ‘YES!’ to.

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Izzy, from holistic workshops, to mind body and soul festivals to fashion shoots, how would you describe your stunning home and what it has to offer?

 The property has a long history with a Saxon church, Georgian farmhouse, Victorian barns and now contemporary tree houses. This mix of styles is somewhat reflected in the great mix of people we have choosing us a venue for their own gatherings and creative endeavours as well as coming to join in the various events. When we created the vision we spent a lot of time thinking how we wanted our guest to feel when they left. Words that sprang to mind were things like: nurtured, relaxed, playful, motivated, inspired.

You recently did a festival there for nurturing holistic minds, can you tell us a little bit more?

The Convergence was created to be like a mini healing Burning Man in that everyone who came had the opportunity to also contribute in some way. Everything from the workshops, the healings, the music, the food was contributed by our guests – even the creche. I think that is what created the magic: the more you take part and contribute, the more you get out of it. We had a huge range of experience including those with none at all – it was a great bridge for those sticking their toes into the waters of self-development for the first time.

You have been developing West Lexham over the last couple of years to be a magical wonderland of tree houses, sea shell grottos and more. Can you tell us a little bit about how you came up with the inspiration behind it and how it was built?

My husband, Ed, was one of the originators or Secret Garden Party and so had been working with the ethos of festivals for a long time. We wanted to create a place that allows for that sense of freedom and acceptance all year around: somewhere to experiment and explore different ways of life, philosophies and beliefs, talents; a place of community where you never know who you might meet next to cross-pollinate ideas with to bring back and realise in life back home. Ed’s parents had started turning this industrial farmyard into a place of beauty and we were blessed that they saw value in our vision and let us use this place to ground our big ideas and make them a reality.

What do you foresee for the future of West Lexham?

There is still a lot of work to be done and we are only are about half-way in terms of everything we would like to create. Currently we are working on some really exciting programmes both in terms of teachers we want to work with, but also for corporate wellness, innovation and brainstorming.

From jet set lady of the manor to shamanic healer and life coach, you are rocking both worlds. What is your advice do you have to keep your finger on the pulse?

Keep your own pulse steady before tapping into that of the collective.

Lastly, your mantra, or last words?

Don’t take it all (including myself) too seriously. : )

For more information visit http://www.westlexham.org