Reconstructing an abandoned village in the Pyrenees near Ainsa, Spain, using Permaculture, Food forest, Ecobuilding




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  • Description


    Hi, we are a core group of 5 people living communally with long term visitors in a previously abandoned village in the pre-Pirineos near Ainsa and the Ordessa national park.

    We are open minded and choose to live our life in natural rhythms, away from the pollutants of the society of never enough, the plastic, petroleum world. Since 2011 a group started to rejuvenate the village, concentrating on the basic cycles of food, water, shelter (without forgetting to have fun at the same time!).
    By 2019 we are growing most of our fresh food in the gardens, we have comfortable spaces for ourselves and visitors in the restored (or semi-restored) houses and we are still enjoying ourselves deeply.

    The village is very old, first noted ~600ad, and although the population was declining, from its peak of 600, due to the pull of the new industrial cities and declining fertility, the remaining families in the valley finally had to leave 50 years ago because of Francos dam project. The dam was resisted and in the end never built, but now most of the houses are complete ruins or in need of serious repair. The immediate surroundings are poorly managed unhealthy pine plantation that were planted at the same time (expecting easy profit), mixed with beautiful pockets of original deciduous trees and new growth shrubs. It is situated 1350m high surrounded by 1700m peaks, in a beautiful terraced valley over looking the rio Ara. Water comes from a delicious fresh spring and a year round clear river. There is a lot of potential for changing the land use to once again support a diverse multitude of life in the area.

    Extra Note:
    We have appropriated/occupied this misused terrain because of our principles of autonomy and land rights. (i.e. illegally)

    On this planet , which is overrun with greed and unequal ownership, we have chosen to live in a place where we can return to the ancient, natural and harmonious ways of thinking and acting.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Animal care
    Language practice
    Art project

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You can learn how to combine the traditional methods of living with permaculture and modern techniques.
    We like to play board/card games, have impromptu jams together, and generally enjoy ourselves with some wine and talking about life, death and all the dreams in between! We are very open to people joining the community long term.

  • Help


    We are always looking for people to help in forming, maintaining and growing the gardens as well as in the construction and maintenance of the buildings. There is a lot of wood and stonework, roofs, windows, doors and floors. Clay and plasterwork. Maintenance and improvements on watersystems, showers and heating. We work mainly with the local resources and things we recycle. Plenty of time and materials to create your own projects. An adaptive creative mind really helps to see potentials.

    -Spring is for preparing and planting the garden
    -Summer we work on the larger building projects outside
    -Autumn is harvesting, preserving and preparing the garden
    -Winter is cutting next years wood and indoor building/sustainability projects

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Spanish, Dutch,

  • Accommodation


    We have room for at least 8 people, 3 double bed rooms and a dormitory area. It’s always possible to put your tent on the field. 50 years without maintenance has meant the collapse of many buildings in the village. The remaining usable ones are now improving rapidly (with your help) but they are still mostly cold in winter and very dusty.
    Showers are solar heated, or a small tub by the stove. Electricity enough (responsibly used) to charge mobiles, laptops etc.
    We eat lunch and dinner communally, with shared cooking and cleaning responsibilities.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    People who will come should value and enjoy solitude in the wild, rich verdant nature there. It is easist to reach us with a 4x4 type car or good legs and shoes.The 10km dirt track gets progressively worse, Normal cars you can reach another abandoned village ~5 km down the mountain.
    The main bus runs past the bottom of the track from Barbastro, with connections there from Barcelona. Hitchhiking is relatively easy. The closest shops, bars and other things are in the small towns Boltana, Fiscal & Ainsa which are 15 and 30 km away from the village. Every Tuesday morning there’s a market in Ainsa.
    Close by you will find Parc National Ordesa and Monte Perdido, many hiking routes all across the valley lead there. Nearer the village you can take a number of nice short (or long and a little bit lost) walks along the rivers passing many little waterfalls and enjoying the wild flowers and animals. Stunning views from the top.

  • 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

  • ...

    Hours expected

    A sincere attitude of effort and good will - max 25 hour

Garden 2,3 and 4
Building with recycled materials
Building a greenhouse in front of a house
New greenroof
Spring 2015
Looking east over the pond next to the greenhouse

Host ref number: 192548377116