All Year: All year
Area (ha): 16
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 41296
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Last Updated: October 22, 2017
UPDATE: WINTER 2017-2018:
We are keen to hear from WWOOFERS - a couple or single person - who would like to join us during the winter months: December 2017, January and February 2018. You will need to be quite hardy, and prepared for our cold and wet climate - it's pretty elemental here during winter! It can rain a lot, and be cold. The farm work is more difficult because of the wet ground. The caravan has a wood burner, so you will be warm and cosy, however you will still need to go outside to get to the outdoor compost toilet and the shower facility. We cook and eat together in our cabin which is quite small, so it's important that we can all get along.
We are particularly interested in people who:
- have some practical skills with building/carpentry
- are up for sharing the cooking
- have experience of living the 'outdoor life' or in a caravan during winter.
If this is of interest, please read on for more about our farm and what kinds of activities WWOOFING here involves...
We we are looking for volunteers who can help with farm work: mainly clearing weeds and dealing with the egg flock, and the odd bit of child-minding for our 4-year-old daughter when necessary.
You must be: fit and strong, reliable, enthusiastic, happy, flexible, and ideally easy-going and open-minded. You must be able to work without supervision once you feel you have had enough training at any task you are set.
We do strongly prefer that helpers stay for at least 4 weeks, since it takes 2 weeks just to learn the daily and weekly chores. Please note we cannot accommodate anyone from December to February due to planning restrictions.
We are situated in a beautiful valley tucked away in the stunning surroundings of Branscombe in the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Although we have 39 acres, over 16 acres is woodland, some of which is ancient broadleaf woodland with some trees estimated at around 200 years old. Numerous springs feed a brook running through the centre of the valley.
We rear hens for eggs and now for meat also. We are certified organic and have just planted a small orchard. Also we have a small fish farm where we rear carp for the table.
We are aiming to be as sustainable and self-sufficient as possible and eventually to farm completely fossil-fuel free. We are very interested in permaculture and how to apply these techniques to a commercial smallholding. However we are also going through the process of gaining planning permission to build a permanent dwelling here, so we need to have a viable agricultural business up and running within two years.
We need help with all aspects of the above farming activities, from caring for the birds; collecting, processing and packing eggs; netting, grading and moving fish; fence work; clearing, strimming and weed control; tree work and processing of firewood; also with large projects such as completing our woodworking workshop; building chicken houses; installing ram pumps and water supplies and developing educational facilities.
We would generally expect helpers to help 35 hours per week, with usually 2 days off per week, i.e. 7 hours per day. Please note you will need to be physically fit and fairly strong, as the work involves lifting and carrying 20kg bags of feed, and wheelbarrowing heavy loads across a sloping field. Both this work and tree work can be very physically demanding. Although we won't expect you to do more than you're able, everyone's abilities and stamina differ, so be prepared that you might find it quite tiring. Some days can be quite long, but are always followed by short or rest days.
We expect helpers to share the cooking, of course we provide all of the mostly organic produce.
Our accommodation for volunteers is one of two 14-foot caravans. One has two single beds and is suitable for one or two people. The other has only a double bed and is therefore suitable for either one person or a couple. They are situated approx 15m from a Portakabin with a fitted kitchen and bathroom, and covered area for meals or relaxing. There is an outdoor composting toilet nearby. Evening meals and lunches will generally be taken together. We do not eat much meat, although we are not vegetarian, simply because of the difficulty in sourcing organic meat of good provenance. Broadband wi-fi is available and can be picked up from inside the caravans.
We enjoy conversations about why we have chosen this particular lifestyle, and the various aspects of living in this country. We love hearing about life in our helpers' country of residence.
We not near any shops and are on the outskirts of a very long village which is essentially a collection of valleys leading to the sea, the beach is approx. 2 miles away. We can provide transport to the nearest towns when possible, or there are buses. The village currently does not have a shop but does have excellent pubs, a tea room, and a beach cafe. There are amazing walks along the cliff tops and through wooded valleys, and numerous local attractions to enjoy. Bikes are available and buses run to the local towns, the bus stop is 5 minutes walk.