We are English and a few years ago had the mad idea of renovating the abandoned buildings of an old farm near Bergerac in South West France. Since then we've been bringing the site back to life in an eco friendly way and have made lots of new friends, young and old.
We've had interesting and varied lives, but here it helped that I spoke decent French and that Martin was a very practical and capable builder. Although we're still active every day doing some job or other, most of the building work is behind us, apart from hoping to put up a steel and reclaimed timber outbuilding some time this year, finishing a bit of interior work, completing the wooden cladding and landscaping of one of the barns,and making a new path. Another project is to make chair covers and curtains.
We run a couple of popular holiday properties on the site. The garden and grounds claim our attention too.
As there is always a variety of things to do we usually ask helpers where they would like to concentrate their efforts. We really appreciate an extra hand from willing guests from time to time,and the chance to make new friends, hear new perspectives,and share stories round our table.
AVAILABILITY: Any time from 12 June onwards.
Although we are in a rural location, the lovely town of Bergerac is 5 minutes by car, with lots of things going on there as well as train and bus links if you want to explore further afield. There are a couple of bikes available, and we are always happy to drop a Helpxer off in Bergerac or at a train or bus stop, or at the country park and swimming lake not far away. I always offer to take helpers on a day out to visit some of the tourist spots in this wonderful part of France. Bergerac is a great town but if you want a city break whilst you are here, then Bordeaux is about an hour away by train or car.
Our hectare of land drops gently down to a small stream. 4 goats help maintain the paddocks (no milking). As well as the livestock there is a vegetable garden, flower gardens, and fruit and walnut trees. The strawberries are start ripening in May. Picking and preserving the other fruits starts in earnest from mid July.
One favourite spot on the site is the open fronted "summer house" which acts as our outdoor kitchen, dining and sitting space for 7 months of the year, with an old woodburning stove providing extra heat and cooking facilities on chillier evenings. There have been some memorable and fun international gatherings here over recent years.
We can welcome one volunteer at any one time, occasionally two. You need to be reasonably fit, and willing to be serious about lending a hand to move us forward. If you can offer practical skills, so much the better! Activity depends on the season and weather, your ability and interests. We ask for 25 hours of your time over a week in exchange for generous meals and a large bedroom to yourself with comfy bed and armchair (your chilling out zone when you've had enough of our company),adjacent shower room, meals as part of the household. Good Wifi internet access. As for food, meat/fish eaters and vegetarians welcome.
We will welcome you warmly and hope you will join the list of splendid volunteers who have passed through our doors (some pictured here) and who have shared a great deal of fun and hard work, who have learned a lot and taught us too - in short, who have enriched our lives, and who have found a personal enrichment here too. If we are just a bed in your travels so that you are not really engaged in who we are and what we are doing, or if you just can't get yourself out of bed on work mornings (we certainly don't start at the crack of dawn!), this place is not for you. If you like a challenge and are prepared to help out with our activities in whatever way you can, if you are happy with country life, if you are happy to get to know how we really tick and join in with us, then we'd love to share our space with you and get to know you too. But if it doesn't work for us, we will say so pretty quickly and ask you to move on.
If you want more details don't hesitate to ask. We also have our Facebook page Le Clos du Verger.