help exchange   Host 14392
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 5
Persons: 1 or 2
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 14392
Country: England

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Last Updated: October 22, 2017

Our 17th century farmhouse is home to Piers, Sue, three young people aged 17-21 (two are away at university), two house cats and a small, very friendly dog. Our optimum stay length is two or three weeks and we have vacancies in Spring 2018.

We offer helpxers comfortable accommodation in a prime tourist area, excellent food and a genuine welcome, in return for seriously hard work.

We are within sight of the sea in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are shingle beaches to walk to and steep-sided sandy coves easily reachable by bike (although the roads are hilly!). South Devon is an enormously popular tourist destination from Easter to October, when it earns its reputation as the sunniest part of England.

We moved here six years ago and have established a multi-award-winning business running stylish, comfortable self-catering holiday cottages. We live on site in the main farmhouse, where we accommodate helpxers in cosy, clean guest rooms. You will have your own TV, and internet access.

We don't use helpxers to clean or maintain the holiday cottages - we have regular local staff for that. Instead, you help with jobs around the farmstead, mainly gardening and painting. We keep chickens and ducks, a few pigs and a small flock of sheep, a dressage horse and a (retired) pony, which means you should also be willing to assist with cleaning out the animal housing if required. We are happy to let you help with feeding and handling animals if you want to learn, but please don't picture yourself working with animals all day. The riding horse is a demanding competition animal and is not usually made available to helpxers.

We expect about 30 hours of work in return for a week of bed and full board. You must be ready to work on your own some of the time; we don't ask you to do anything we aren't willing to do ourselves. Most people have preferred to work in the mornings - from 8am til 1pm - leaving them with time to themselves in the afternoons. We work Saturdays but not Sundays, which are free.

Digging, weeding and mucking-out is hard work, so we need people who are reasonably fit and strong. You should bring your own outdoor clothes, some of which need to be warm (even in summer). We have a selection of rubber boots, but you need your own stout shoes and almost certainly a waterproof! We sometimes have to work outside when it is raining and you must not mind getting dirty.

We like having visitors, and expect them to eat most meals with our family. We enjoy a diverse range of ingredients, including our own lamb, pork and bacon. In this house, meals are important social occasions, so being an adaptable and enthusiastic eater is essential for a stay here! Foreign language speakers are very welcome, and we can help with improving your English - French, Italian and German are all spoken fluently here. Sue is a painter, while Piers and the children are musicians. We have a decent piano and a selection of other instruments.

In your free time, you may like to explore the surrounding area, which is well worth the effort. This is a rural area with little night life, but it is beautiful walking country and we have good maps to lend you. There is also a bicycle you could borrow. There is a bus service from Chillington (1.5km) to Dartmouth or Kingsbridge, and from there through to Plymouth. If we are going anywhere else interesting, we can usually give you a lift.

We have body boards and a couple of kayaks and can drop you down to a nearby beach with them. Windsurfing, sailing and other water sports are available a little further afield, but you would need your own transport for those. The market town of Kingsbridge is about 8km and the sailing port of Dartmouth is about 12km. Totnes, the administrative centre of this part of Devon, is about 25 km. It is an interesting and slightly alternative place that has a direct rail link to Cornwall, or London and beyond.

In summary, we like our helpxers to have a good time and try our best to make this a high value experience for both parties. We offer just a few spaces each year but, if you are hard-working, adaptable and practical, we would love to host you.

We like the first contact to be written - i.e e-mail, not phone call or text. And please make it a personal e-mail that shows you have read and thought about our profile!

We have a positive and welcoming attitude towards young people and we appreciate that everyone starts with little experience. But we do expect you to provide some evidence that you are able to make a useful work contribution in return for our hospitality. You need to tell us about things you have done that show you are hard-working and quick to learn, as well as experience you have at practical jobs like painting, gardening, building or farming. Please support your application with at least one reference (recommendation) from someone you have worked for - possibly a previous work exchange host, perhaps a current or past employer, or even a teacher from school or university.

One final point: in the last year, we have begun to get a lot of applications from families. We like children, but we have concluded that our work environment and helpx accommodation is not suitable for them.

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