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All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 5
Persons: 3
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 6786
Country: France

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Last Updated: December 12, 2017

Update: (Nov 2016) This winter we are building a 12 metre diameter yurt suitable for weddings, parties etc in a Central Asian style with steam bent tono and bent wood roof poles.There will also be lots of raised bed permaculture style gardening and landscaping, tree planting, building a puddled pond and over flow rice paddy. Building a cob bread oven, renovating an old pigeon tower and flooring a cart shed to make it suitable for group yoga,it will be a really busy crazy time but should be fun as well. Please see our website and Facebook page for more information on what we are about and get in contact if you are interested.

We have 1930's or so very french fourgon (a bit like a Citroen H van, see facebook photo's),we aim to transform it into quirky accommodation, we will need help and expertise to get it water-tight and make a start on the interior so any classic car enthusiasts or car body repair experts or welders please come forward because we are good with wood but not so confident with metal !

We have now had lots of helpers who have stayed for between 2 weeks and 6 months so if you want to talk to any of them for a reference that would, I'm sure be fine, just ask us for their details.

Host Profile:
We are an English family who have been living in a farmhouse on a smallholding in the North Dordogne countryside for over ten years. We rent out a holiday gite, and Matt my husband is a willow craftsmen - he makes woven willow fences and other garden products as well as living willow structures - we have a willow plantation of 25000 willows which we harvest annually. We also have a small flock of sheep, hens, dogs and a cat as well as an orchard and a big veggie patch and polytunnel and depending on the time of year we have a couple of pigs. We are attempting to be as self sufficient as possible and aim to do so in an organic and sustainable way.

Life here is very busy and we have to work hard to complete the many different projects that we have on the go and 2016 will be no different. Eight years ago we made our own yurt, Matt making the structure with his own willow and me (Wendy) sewing the canvas cover. In 2009 we set up a small eco-camping business - just one yurt with it's own composting toilet, bathroom and outdoor kitchen - it was a great success and we now have four yurts on three emplacements, each unit is very individual.For this season we intend to develop the communal area, Le jardin Splish Splosh for our clients and develop the whole site generally and also the kitchen garden. And that is where you come in - WE NEED YOU! - if you are interested in helping us to make another yurt, or help with building round wood structures, fencing, general carpentry, landscaping, woodland work, coppicing willow, gardening, or generally helping with the farm (animals and hay/straw making, veggie patch, polytunnel etc) then please get in touch with us.

HelpX accommodation would either be in the gite or in a yurt/tipi depending on bookings and the weather - wherever, the units are well equipped and bed-linen would be provided. We're in a rural location with the nearest bar being about 4kms away and the nearest small town is 6kms - a car would be useful but we have bikes that you can use to get about on or explore the area. We'd prefer non-smokers but smoking is allowed outside the accommodation.

We speak English as our first language at home followed by french (and the children speak a bit of Spanish). Most meals are taken with the family (you might want to have breakfast in your own kitchen but if so we'll provide the basics) and everyone helps and shares with the cooking and clearing up. We'd like volunteers to stay for between two weeks and a couple of months at a time, working about a 6 hour day over 5 days but we're pretty flexible about when you do your work if you want to do other things as well - skilled workers would be fantastic but not essential - we are after people who are highly motivated and hard working,and who are open minded and want to learn, enthusiasm is sometimes more important than experience!!

The nearest SNCF train stations are Angouleme and Perigieux - we can pick you up from either (

In return for your hard work, you can expect to have some great evenings around the camp fire (or during the winter, in the living room around the woodburner) chatting and enjoying the odd glass of local wine, some great food, as well as learn some great new skills - green woodworking, yurt making, composting human manure, veggie growing etc etc. The area around here is exceptionally beautiful and you will have the opportunity to go off exploring when you're not working.

Please get in touch if you would like more information or you would like to come and help us. Hope to hear from you soon ...

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