We are Sue and Bart Kelly.We own and look after the working donkeys of Clovelly, our ancient, picturesque village in Devon. It is famous for it's steep cobbled street and it's donkeys. At the moment we have 12 donkeys and two mules. We use them for giving rides to children, being photographed by tourists, carrying things and going to ceremonies and fetes. We train our donkeys by natural horsemanship, particularly Parelli, and we do Horse agility and a bit of clicker training too. Our life revolves around caring for the donkeys and keeping up their stables and fields- which are always in need of maintainance - and working the donkeys with the public, talking to the public and telling them all about the donkeys. We are interested in natural horsemanship and improving life for all working donkeys around the world. We have lots of experience as we have been keeping donkeys here since 1981.
DIY and building projects
Help around the house
We are very experienced donkey keepers and can teach you everything we know about keeping donkeys happy and healthy in England. Sue studies Parelli Natural Horsemanship and has passed her Parelli Level 1 test and also does Horse Agility at First Level so we can give you a taste of those things although we are not qualified to teach them.
Sue is also qualified as a saddler and can teach leatherwork and saddlery repairs.
Bart does many jobs around the place and is happy to teach building work, renovation and car maintainence.
At quiet times of the year we love to host people who are trying to improve their English as we can help with that. Bart speaks a little French too.
We would love help with all the things we do now as well as some new things. This would include stablework, tack cleaning, grooming and general helping with the donkeys, light building work to restore and maintain our Victorian stable yard, painting, in the field including repairing fencing, some gardening and We are an untidy lot and would welcome help with general housework too.
We spend a lot of time talking to people who visit our yard, answering their questions and telling them about the donkeys. Our busiest time is the school holidays from the end of July to September and then we need dynamic and motivated helpers who are happy speaking English - though our visitors are often pleasantly surprised when our helpers also speak other languages ! By Workaway rules you cannot help us with any 'business' activities, such as giving donkey rides (for which we charge money) but there are lots of other jobs !
From Easter to July and September to November we are more relaxed and have more time to talk to people and do more things with the donkeys such as Horse Agility, rides in the woods and donkey training days. We are happy for helpers to have a go at teaching new things to the donkeys.
In the winter we are not officially open to the public and WE enjoy the donkeys. The down side is that they lie in the stables at night as the fields are too wet for them and so we have a lot of stablework to do - mucking out and sweeping. However our time is our own and we are completely flexible about our hours.
As we are open to the public we have to comply with safety regulations and so need our helpers to be over 18. We don't need you to be experienced with donkeys or horses and will give you all necessary training but we are very happy if you do have experience too.
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We are offering a room or rooms in our large, untidy house.(We spend our time tidying up after the donkeys !)It's lovely in the summer but very cold in the winter but we have a good sitting room fire and hope you will join us there!
We will feed you too - Bart usually does the cooking but you would be welcome to do your own if you prefer. We eat breakfast, tea and dinner and don't eat lunch but you can make sandwiches to take with you if you like.
We have internet access by wired ethernet and wifi but it is a very low signal area and the connection is often slow. It is an area where the mobile phone signal is weak.
We share the bathrooms and have a shower and bath available as well as washing machine and tumble drier.
We are non-smokers and ask that our guests don't smoke in the house.
We live in a beautiful rural area of Devon, surrounded by farms, in an area classed as Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is lots of cycling and walking and easy access to beaches and to the South-west coast path which goes all round Devon and Cornwall. There are plenty of tourist attractions, mostly related to things to do with nature as well as historic towns and places and museums and gardens. There are several horse riding centres nearby and of course lots of holiday attractions and holiday parks.
There are pubs, clubs and cinemas in Barnstaple and Bideford
However we are relatively isolated and public transport is not very good so it's not easy to go far without your own car. There are 3 busses daily to Bideford and one to Bude which go past our entrance and can be caught in Clovelly too. There are trains from Barnstaple but the times can make it difficult to get back to Clovelly in one day.
We can lend bicycles and refelctive jackets etc
We are happy to arrange days off so that everyone gets to do things they are interested in (including us ! ) and if we are going to an event helpers are welcome to come too. Some events do charge entrance fees, some don't.
British weather is notorious for being changeable and unpredictable so come prepared for anything ! Actually we can lend waterproofs and Wellingtons but gloves and warm clothes are good things to bring.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
If not too big !
We are happy with pets but please be aware that donkeys chase dogs.
More than two
no more than 5 hours per day, 5 days per week
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