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Hello beautiful humans from Daryl & DiscoDog - Come help off-grid with us and our animals on this beautiful woodland smallholding in the countryside, just 1 hour from London.
With your help I am managing this wonderful piece of land with dairy goats, chickens, a duck and my Disco (dog)!
Whilst we're unable to live on site, or stay all year-round due to local council guidelines, we can however stay during the working months to facilitate our agriculture and forestry!! There are tasks to do all year round especially the colder months if you are brave enough to face the midst of winter...
This means we can experience staying off-grid in this beautiful natural space; maintaining animals, practicing forrestry work, learning things like permaculture and forest gardening, and helping to create a healthier, more sustainable and productive environment.
I have been working on the land since 2016 with friends, family & volunteers and so far the land has already totally transformed from being an unbalanced, dark, infertile habitat to very much the opposite! Also including many growing projects, animals, a barn, a young orchard, forest food growing. And of course a big bonfire pit for cosy evenings, all hidden amongst this diverse woodland. This is early days and things are not quite the visual haven I have planned, but hopefully you can see the beauty in the process and be excited by the visible improvements that you can be part of!
It can get quite busy here at intervals with up to 4 workawayers here at a time, though this space is plenty big enough to isolate yourself away working or in your own time, or to be as communal as you want... in the winter months work will reduce and only up to 2 volunteers are needed...
We are aiming for volunteer stays of about 4 weeks each, but if we work well together and you like it here we can discuss extending your stay :-)
As for me, I’m trying to create something more meaningful and long-lasting. With all the volunteers that have taken part here, we each put our life experiences to use in different ways and have learned a whole variety of skills in this off grid environment, but still are very much experimenting and learning as we go, so I hope this is the ideal space for us to learn from one another!
To give you a truly honest expectation of off-grid woodland tasks we have all racked our brains for what we think are the down sides of living this lifestyle:
- Secluded setting (although only a 10 minute drive to town)
- Poor internet and mobile connection
- Totally off-grid therefore limited electric and water (for example, it’s not sustainable to have daily showers here), we have 12V electric only so there is no fridge, freezer or other high consumption appliances here (basically we can only run things that are with a USB lead)
- Outside toilet
- It can be Cold English weather... although finally the sleeping accommodations do now have heating in the evenings, but normally we all keep toasty warm in the communal shed, with the log burner fire going all of the time, it can get very hot in the main rooms -(sometimes like a sauna!)
Ps. This is a private woodland smallholding, we make no profit from our land or animals and therefore are looking for volunteers to give their time in exchange for accommodation, food and experience.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
I hope you'll gain a fun and eye-opening experience of off-grid living. Whatever time of year you visit expect to leave well versed in animal care, fire starting and getting back to nature. Maybe you'll learn to build from found materials and see the potential in things as we aim to. Maybe you'll work out whether you really do want to keep your own animals or whether you're cut out for rural or off grid life. Hopefully we'll all learn more about how to support each other & nature, grow our own foods, and be self-sustainable whilst surrounding ourselves in healing trees.
I am looking for eager, active, team players. People who want to work and help because they can be excited by the bigger picture even if right now they’re just cleaning, cooking, lugging logs or picking up sticks! Tasks can sometimes be heavy, long, cold, muddy and so on. I find it highly rewarding but you probably need to be a fairly hardy person that is physically fit and not put off by hard work, mud or creepy crawlies! If this is not totally your thing and you prefer lighter work or you feel you have other skills to offer, such as cleaning, cooking and animal care, or something totally different I haven’t mentioned yet, then please say so in your message...!
We all follow a live and let live lifestyle here and love to meet similarly open-minded people. A love and respect for nature is a must - so no litterbugs here! Meanwhile, an ability to be independent both in work and free time is also appreciated.
Kinds of tasks to expect:
Cooking, Cleaning, Feeding animals/Milking goats (twice daily), Cleaning out animals, Building log walls, Collecting fallen sticks/Making brush walls, Building projects (eg. food areas, hoop growers, the barn, maintaining animal pens and general maintenance), Moving soil and wood chip, Weeding/Watering/Planting/Harvesting, Bramble/Bracken clearing, Axing firewood, Maintaining paths, Etc.
We will all share and take turns with the ‘household’ chores of cooking, washing up, and cleaning the communal room.
The general Year Plan for 2022:
Winter - (Now) *Finish building the Barn, *Finish the edible growing area, *Firewood axing, etc
Spring - Planting, Baby Goat kids, Gardening, etc,
Summer - Gardening/plant maintenance
For more detailed information about a specific month you’d like to visit please message me!
As this is a private smallholding we don’t function like a job, our hours are pretty flexible and weather dependant. So your 25 hours a week may include long days working followed by days off sunbathing or hiding from the rain. We hope you’ll let me know when you’re inspired and want to crack on with a job and when you’re needing an extra rest day so that we can organise our scheduling together.
I have 2 lovely old caravans available, and a lovely 3 bedroom tent!
One caravan has a double bed, wardrobes & mini kitchen.
The second is larger, technically a 5 birth but could comfortably have 2 double beds or one double bed and a sitting area. This also has a mini kitchen & wardrobe.
There is basic 12v electric in both caravans for just lights, although now the sleeping accommodations do have heating in them, we all usually keep warm in the communal shed with the log burner fire on all of the time!!
We have just installed an inside & outside shower area and yes there is now hot water in the communal shed (very exciting!) so we can all be a bit more spoilt in 2022. The communal shed has sofas, kitchen, wood burner for heat, and tool storage. Outside there is a large bonfire pit and cooking facilities (BBQ, hot plate made of an old gas bottle and wood fired oven), Also maybe a hot tub...
Most people like to spend alot of the time outside in the warm months and you can expect a good bit of bbq cooked food then. We all usually eat vegetarian here, but do occasionally buy meat, so we aim to be very flexible and understanding of everyone’s dietary needs - so do please let me know in advance!,
Better yet teach me some of your favourite recipes! We will share out most roles here including cooking so be ready to get involved. (I should also mention that although most people visiting are happy to have meat served, it is unlikely we will provide meat more than a couple times a week for cost and sustainability reasons.)
Being off-grid means resources such as water and electricity are limited and to be respected, therefore used sparingly. There is very limited phone signal in the woods and poor 4G so whilst Internet and phone calls via your mobile are accessible in areas of the woods, this place is most ideally for those people hoping for a break from the screens and social media of modern life.
I hope our workawayers will be excited to get involved and put the hours in, but in your free time you may want to hike through the countryside, sunbathe* in our woodland clearing, read in a hammock, walk/jog the dog through the surrounding woodland paths, sketch, play games as a group, start your own little projects (perhaps you want to build a seating area, carve a branch or plant a tree guild). Beyond the Woods there is a number of quaint English villages just 10 minutes drive away. Plus a couple larger towns nearby for shopping trips and of course iconic London is just a half hour train ride away for a full day or weekend of urban attractions.
There is no public transport passing the site itself but we are happy to provide occasional lifts so that you can experience more of the area during your time here.
* Please note; some of us are sun lovers and true naturists. This means when you are here some of us may undress for the day, sunbathe naked or just work nude to prevent overheating, or even just hang out without clothes when comfortable. This isn't a promiscuous thing or something I expect you to be involved in. I believe in the freedom of natural bodies and follow a live and let live attitude, and a wear what you want approach! . - If nudity offends you we probably aren't the right fit for you!! but if you are happy to accept this quirk then feel free to apply :-) In a similar vain we have an open outside shower which you are welcome to use or not use depending on your preference - the inside shower is there for those preferring more privacy.
**Speaking of live and let live it's worth noting that Daryl and some other visitors are smokers, and yes you can smoke things in the communal lounge area with the window open and anywhere outside (just respectfully dispose of your waste products :). If you are adverse to smoking please consider that people will be smoking in the lounge area, but will try and be respectful of non smokers at the time...
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
I can host almost any size vehicle, we have a hard track for access, secure off the road & very much out of sight.
Please note this land is not completely enclosed or fenced in and our livestock is sometime freeranged or walked in the area. Therefore, please consider whether your pet's behaviour is safe and appropriate for this site. Thanks :)
More than two
A flexible 25 hours per Week
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