Help reclaim garden - gardening & diy skills needed Plymouth, UK

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This listing is a Last minute host. They have let us know that they are looking for help immediately as well as at other times of the year.

  • Description


    Please note, I do not take smokers and you must be able to speak English well. If you love animals and gardening you will fit in here very well. I am supporting the local hospice in Plymouth who do a terrific job for people in the last stages of terminal illness, by opening the garden to the public and charging an entrance fee. There are plants for them to buy also and another charge for tea and cake. So far I have made £230 this Summer but hope to make more through plant sales and also visits, there is still enough interest in the garden. I also have duck and chicken eggs for sale, cakes and anything else that would be of interest to the visitors to buy which can help to make money for the hospice. The helpers here so far have been so enthusiastic about the project and done some amazing work but we still have areas that need to be cleared of ivy etc., plants that need moving (they are in the wrong place) and fires to be lit, hedges to be cut and also many cuttings to be taken of plants and shrubs - I can show you how. There is a fruit and vegetable area that needs tending, manuring, planting, weeding and watering in dry weather. I am trying a no dig method of gardening in the vegetable patch this year and so far everything is growing nicely. I garden organically no artificial fertilisers or pest control and the animals enjoy living a free range existence wandering everywhere, one chicken in particular insists on visiting the kitchen each day. Handyman help and also a little inside work/help with keeping house would be great, though most of the work is outside, so this wouldn't suit someone who is only used to light duties. Help is also needed to look after the 30 poultry a mixture of ducks, and chickens (we have ducklings too) also feeding the two dogs and three cats. The cottage is in the country on the edge of Dartmoor national park with good views over farmland to the estuary. Wild ponies and their foals roam freely over Dartmoor with cows and sheep it is a beautiful area to explore and I can take you on walks sometimes with the two dogs to see as much of the area as possible. If you would like to take the dogs out on your own they will love you for it. Although I am 7 miles from Plymouth city centre and it is quiet here there is a superstore and other smaller shops just over a mile to walk this is also where there is public transport by bus to the city of Plymouth I think the return ticket to Plymouth is around £3.20

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help in the house
    Animal care

  • Help


    I particularly need help reclaiming what was a beautiful garden with many unusual plants, it has become overgrown with brambles and nettles and other large weeds which need to be pulled/dug out. You need to have old clothes for this, and waterproof boots. I also have house-plants everywhere, another passion of mine, which need regular watering. There are three cats living in the house and two dogs all very friendly, they pretty much own the place downstairs though not the upstairs, they are not allowed there. Feeding all the animals is part of the daily routine here a little like working on a small farm so you need to like animals not just tolerate them and also be prepared to get dirty. If you have an allergy to animal fur this is not the place for you. You will be expected to prepare breakfast for yourselves and one other meal, basic food is provided for this, tea, coffee, breakfast cereals, toast and marmalade our own eggs if the birds are laying though they usually take a break in the winter. If you want something different/extra from the food I provide the large supermarket just over a mile away has everything you need. I usually prepare the main meal of the day. I have recently found it too difficult with shopping and cooking to cater for special dietary needs so unless you shop and cook for yourself if you have special requirements I am unable to take you. The washing machine is available for use once a week and you will have to dry your clothes outside in the fresh air I don't use a tumble drier. I am careful with the world's resources so don't waste water. 5 minute showers and don't leave the tap running whilst you are cleaning your teeth. Turn off lights when not in the room etc. I recycle or reuse everything no food waste etc. This may seem obvious but so many helpers just do not think of these things or maybe someone else has paid the bills!


    There is unlimited wi fi so you can download films etc and watch them on your laptop. I have a spare laptop here you can also use. I am friendly and like to meet new people so hope that you will enjoy your stay here and all the area has to offer as there is a lot here to see, no-one who has stayed here has seen everything it is a beautiful part of the country, rivers, forests and open rolling hills with pretty villages to explore too, there are bicycles here for you to use if you would like to.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken


  • Accommodation


    One double room, one single room, dining room, shared bathroom, lounge, plus separate toilet, kitchen, Car parking, Very large garden with parking if you have your own vehicle

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Lovely part of the country for exploring if you are into nature or scenery, quaint villages, tucked away but good access to Plymouth. Great for walking or cycling I have bicycles here for you to use to explore the area. The city of Plymouth has a population of about 250000 and offers great shopping and a mix of old/historical (the Barbican) and new. Plenty of eating places, the theatre and cinemas night clubs etc. Plymouth has a large student population as it is a University city. Outside the city there are amazing coastal walks in both Devon and Cornwall.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Helpers from the city are surprised at how well they adapt to a complete life style change and say how much they enjoy the experience. They learn how to get into the mind of the animals so that they are easier to look after. How to spot if a duck or chicken is unwell and what to do with it, how to help medicate the animals when they are sick. Where to find eggs if the birds don't lay in their boxes but in the garden.
    Helpers who come here enjoy seeing the animals roam freely over Dartmoor National Park and over the roads sometimes causing the traffic to stop as they wander across the road.
    I keep bees too so if you want to learn about them the opportunity is here. The history of this area is quite rich with parts of Dartmoor having some Bronze age remains and also a history of mining for iron ore, copper, tin and arsenic.
    The coast here is quite beautiful in parts and there are endless places to take advantage of if you like walking and photography.

  • ...

    Volunteering hours expected

    5 hours a day 5 days a week + feeding and putting the birds to bed at night about 10 minutes


My Photo Album

Building/inserting ponds for the ducks and geese they are happy birds!
Rose and Darrel stopping work for a photo shoot. Doing stirling work providing ponds for all the birds in new breeding pens for the ducks, very muddy work, rather different from the Australian heat they are used to but still managing to smile
Naughty Fleur deciding she would rather sit with her friends in the front
Sofia and Zuzana making a brilliant sign to go at the end of our lane to sell duck and chicken eggs. It\'s working sales are definitely up. All the proceeds go to help feed the birds
Walk to Wembury beach along the coast one hot summer's day. So many blackberries to make delicious jam, with too.
Coastal walk from Bigbury to Wembury part of the south west coastal footpath close to Plymouth
Plymbridge woods a local beauty spot makes a lovely evening walk
Two of the black runner ducks coming to ask for scraps of food from the veggie bin.
ducklings exploring the beautifully tiled floor Salvador completed, much more practical with so many animals especially after the lamb Teasel spent Christmas week living in the house with us!
babies out of the incubator but too small without their mother's wings for warmth to live outside
Noodles just keeping an eye on a new duckling
Bluebell wood above Sheepstor on Dartmoor, first week of May is always the best.
Sharna, enjoying the sunshine she is a douge de Bordeaux, a gentle giant
Ducks enjoying foraging in the garden one summer's evening
On the road to Milton Abbot just beyond Tavistock
Basil our crested Silver miniature Appleyard drake he has had some fine babies this year.
This is the estuary you can see from the garden it is a couple of miles away but makes a pretty walk any time of year
last cat Katy Kitty. Fleur loves her they were babies together
Hugo, such a gentle boy
Noodles and Bubbles two of the rehomed cats taking advantage of the sunshine by the kitchen door
Happy ducks but as you can see the brown pond liner needs burying out of site - a job for a workawayer.


Host ref number: 596947835641