In a beautiful rural location in Dartmoor National Park in the South West of England, our ten-acre property includes an orchard, walled vegetable garden, shrubbery and hillside running down to the River Teign. From the gardens there are lovely views of the nearby town of Chagford and the moors beyond.
We moved here just over a year ago and are gradually developing this to be a more sustainable and productive garden/ smallholding that integrates with the Victorian garden first set out in the 1870s. There are some fabulous mature trees here including Cedars and Redwoods.
Currently we are gradually learning more about permaculture and using its principles to guide what we do. Our aim is to increase the diversity of wildlife and bird life here and to maintain a rich and resilient ecosystem. We have solar panels to reduce electricity costs and a Biomass boiler fuelled using our own logs. Our water is from a bore hole and we also have a historic Ram pump that pumps spring water from an underground stream.
We are both academics in our 50s and work at the University of Exeter (60% time) . This gives us some time to develop and restore the garden but we are keen to have more help. There is a good library of books here for volunteers who want to learn more about local history and the natural world.
There are lots of outdoor projects to get involved with and volunteers need to have plenty of energy and enthusiasm and be prepared to work with us in the rain as well as the sunshine.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
This is a great opportunity to learn more about the natural world, growing delicious food and working with us to restore parts of the historic gardens.
There are lots of opportunities for walking from the house, either through the wooded Teign valley or up onto the moors which have stone circles and other pre-historic constructions. This is a rural retreat with opportunities for bird watching and getting closer to nature.
This will appeal to people who like to work outdoors and then sit round a camp fire together in the evening listening for owls and watching the bats. The bird life here is very varied and there are opportunities to improve your bird identification skills.
We are looking for help with cultivating the land, improving the soil, growing vegetables, looking after the friendly hens, splitting logs and stacking wood, and gradually restoring the historic gardens. In the summer and autumn help is also needed with harvesting fruit and vegetables and making preserves for the winter.
Our biomass boiler needs lots of logs so during the colder months we need to keep moving wood up from the orchard to the house.
We are trying to create more traditional meadow pasture with lots of wild flowers, and aim to eradicate the Himalayan balsam that dominated the hillside when we first moved in, so during the spring and summer pulling out Himalayan balsam is a satisfying team activity!
There are some lovely streams and waterfalls running down the hillside - we are doing work to manage these and build basic bridges to create interesting walkways through the land and down by the river.
Volunteers need to have plenty of energy and enthusiasm and be prepared to work with us in the rain as well as the sunshine. Anyone with green woodworking skills is particularly welcome. We hope that volunteers will share our love of home-grown healthy fresh food and will help with the cooking and sharing new recipes.
some basic French
We have three comfortable double bedrooms available for volunteers (one en suite). We grow a lot of our own vegetables, bake most of our own bread and aim to eat seasonally. Most of our meat is sourced from the nearby Chagfarm and other local smallholders and farmers. We generally eat a light lunch and like to sit down for a relaxed meal in the evening. This would be the time for us to chat to Workawayers and learn more about each other.
This is a rural location, very quiet and peaceful - ideal for volunteers who want to get away from the stresses of city life and have a chance to glance a badger in the twilight or disturb deer in the orchard.
Chagford is a lovely small town just 20 minutes walk away with good cafes, pubs, and shops. In the summer there is a great open air solar-heated swimming pool. On some days when we are going to work at the University, we can also offer lifts into Exeter (20 miles away) which has all the facilities of a small City including the historic Cathedral.
Public transport here is limited and we are happy to pick up volunteers from Exeter Station and help them to plan an onward journey. There are also some great opportunities for workaways in Cornwall, and this would be good stopping off point if you want to spend a week or so with us and then head further west.
Volunteers will be welcomed to live and work with us as one of the family. We aim to create a welcoming atmosphere that not only tolerates but celebrates diversity and hope that all volunteers with us will share these values.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week