Help us restoring our not-for-profit smallholding back to its former glory in in north Nottinghamshire, UK


United Kingdom

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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    We are a couple living on a smallholding in north Nottinghamshire.
    We are new to Workaway, but have been using HelpX for the past 3 years and have lots of wonderful experiences.

    5 years ago, we bought a derelict smallholding with the aim to do it up and restore it back to its former glory. A few hiccups have happened along the way, making this a rather longer project than initially thought. With the help of my father and volunteers, we have been doing the house up and gradually making it more and more of a home. Outside, we are redesigning outbuildings, demolishing some, modifying others, fixing up more and building new ones.
    We have a small mixed flock of sheep, including Portlands, Shetlands and one Blue-faced Leicester. We have a small herd of alpacas that we do walks with and take into schools and nursing homes. We also have around 200 chickens, plus ducks and peafowl. Other animals include dogs, cats, rabbits, and a pair of emus - who are the jewel of my eye.

    A bit more about the people: Dani works from home doing alpaca walks and care home visits with some of her alpacas. She also does the day-to-day care of the animals. Simon works full time. Gemma is our house-hen and runs a tight ship.

    A bit more about the accommodation: The accommodation is somewhat rustic, but that is only because we haven't yet finished renovating the bungalow. You will be given an upstairs room and will share our downstairs shower room. We currently sleep in the living room. Upstairs is very much unfinished; it is completely insulated and nearly plasterboarded. We hope to get it finished in 2020. If you are alone here, you will have a double bed. We have made it confortable with rugs on the floor a night stand, lights and some shelves for your clothes. It's bright, warm and you can use our wifi. In The Spring, you will have views across the fields with cattle.

    A bit more about the area: We are in a very quiet village, but only 30 minutes from Lincoln, an hour from Sheffield and Nottingham, and 90 minutes from York and Leicester. There is a bus every two hours to Retford and a train station to pretty much anywhere in Retford. Even London is only an hour and a half away. Quite a few of our volunteers have gone to Edinburgh for a few days - we are happy for people to take extra days off to visit places and even encourage it. The Peak District is - in my opinion - one of the most beautiful places and isn't far. Then there's Sherwood Forest, Clumber Park and many other places to go if you feel so inclined.

    What you need: Outdoor/old clothes, strong footwear, a sense of humour. We are looking for hard working, friendly people who are able to help independently.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco project

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    I am fluent in French, so happy to provide English lessons to someone who requests them.
    We love our little soggy island and will get you trying different British foods, from jelly to yorkshire puddings, fish and chips to haggis. Depending on how long you're with us, we will also take you for a day out in York or a walk through the Peak District. We are happy to drop you off at the train station if you'd like to go anywhere by train, or there is a bus into the nearest town Retford.
    We enjoy board games and have a pool table.

  • Help


    We mostly need help with DIY and the renovation in the house and outbuildings. We would love to finish the renovation works in the house in 2020, so any decorating, joinery or general DIY skills would be fab! However there is also a lot to do outside! We have a dilapidated brick and wood greenhouse, for example, that would be a fantastic project to someone staying for a couple of months.
    If you enjoy gardening, we would also love getting our garden area looking good. We enjoy barbecues in the Summer and only started using the garden in 2019, so there's still a bit of work to create flowerbeds, level and dig over some areas, reseed, etc

    There will be the occasional time where I need a hand with the animals, whether it's mucking out or rounding sheep up.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, French

  • Accommodation


    As described above, you will have your own room in the house. The room is unfinished, but it is comfortable, warm and has plenty of bright, airy windows. Depending on when you come, it may even be plastered. We have put rugs on the floor for you.
    We will provide meals to anyone who stays with us; breakfast is a help-yourself affair; lunch is a snacking meal (either sandwiches or pasta) and evenings are a full, cooked meal. We'd just ask that any sweets, alcohol, pop, or other luxuries be bought by yourself.
    There is wifi in the house, that you can use. We'd just ask for you to be considerate in your use of it as it isn't high-speed, so downloads tend to clog the bandwidth for others. No worries downloading during the night though, or while others aren't using the internet.
    You can use the fridge, microwave, washing machine and dryer.

  • 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?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 235812983335