I am creating ecological off-grid facilities as well as part managing 14 acres of sweet chestnut and oak woodland in Kent.
My ultimate goal is to acquire planning permission for a small permanent dwelling (an earthship meets fachwerk meets straw bale construction) which, with as little machinery as possible and as many considerations for the environment as feasible, I will build myself with a group of volunteers; how it used to be done!
Having a permanent dwelling would allow me to manage the woodland more comfortably and hopefully pave the way for other young individuals wanting to live debt-free and off-grid.
Before approaching this, I want to optimise the living-working environment (self-sufficiency) and really familiarise myself with the local ecosystem and my place in within it.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Primarily I need help with ongoing woodworking projects as well as maintaining the camp. The main projects will involve coppicing small sections of the woodland, building a composting toilet, wood store and outdoor kitchen (sweet chestnut roundwood timber frame construction).
*** I am currently only working at the woodland in the winter months. I do not yet live there but may be back later in the year. ***
Other/future help may include decorating, collecting firewood, an outdoor fire heated shower, vegetable garden and upgrading the tool shed!
You will be cooked for (hearty vegetarian food) but we are happy to accept help If you want to have a go at cooking on an open fire. We will be able to cook for vegans and those with gluten free requirements too. For meat eaters, don't worry; there'll be enough protein in your diet.
I have volunteered at several workaway jobs around the world so have lots of experience in terms of fair trade. You will not be overworked here, but of course I do expect dedicated and switched on helpers.
A big must is for volunteers to have respect for the environment we will be in, leaving places how we find them and doing as little damage to the environment as possible.
Help required: 5 hours per day, 5 days per week.
English, German (limited)
There is some choice with accommodation:
We have a wooden cladded, 50 year old mobile home. It's far from perfect but with its wood fired stove and gas cooker it keeps us warm and fed when the weather breaks. This cabin has a kitchen come lounge area, a rain-fed bathroom and two double bedrooms. Extra sleeping space can be arranged in the lounge room.
We have an immobile gypsy caravan (purchased in the 1940s). Though it once served to house a family of 6, owing to it's dilapidated condition, we can only offer this to one volunteer at a time. It is under shelter to lessen the weathering to the caravan and to keep you nice and dry.
Finally, if you have your own tent, there is a whole woodland from which to choose your pitching.
*** Please note: we have no electricity or running water, but we have enough fire wood to keep warm and, before achieving rain water filtration and purification, enough drinking water will be supplied! There is a Pub under 5 minutes walk away with Wifi. As for general charging of devices, I will have a generator, but will only be turning it on occationally. If you cannot disconnect yourself from your phone, I'm afraid woodland off-gird living is not for you. ***
We are an elicit drug-free woodland. Non-smokers preferable (in dry weather there is risk of forrest fires).
The woodland is part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is a great chance to experience real British countryside while still having good connections to London or Dover (whether I'm you're first or last stop in the UK). You'll be able to visit the eerie Romney Marsh and the headland of Dungeness as well as coastal towns such as Hastings, Rye. The immediate surrounding area is incredibly scenic, with oast houses and fields of hop bines, apple and cherry orchards, quaint villages with historic buildings and local markets. We are very close to Bodiam Castle!
The weather is often comparable to northern France, hence all the fruit grown in the area.
A short walk from the woodland will give you access to local buses with which you can travel around. I have a car so I can collect and drop helpers off in places harder to reach and I will also be happy make day trips to show you areas myself.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Learn about the local ecology (flora and fauna), tree and plant uses, and the basics of permaculture in a deciduous broadleaf woodland.
Get hands on with tree felling (some experience required), using axes and log splitters and try your hand at woodland crafts (bodging, cooking on open fires, round wood timber framing).
Share stories with us around the campfire, learn some new card games!
If nothing else, experience living with nature, waking with the sun and getting back to basics.
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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