Arts and building projects for an eccentric garden of 2 hectars; near Preston, UK


United Kingdom

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  • Description


    Long term and short term visits available

    We are currently looking for someone to replace our long term helper who is leaving us after three years.We have got a self contained flat for you which is furnished and has got its own entrance.
    We are looking for people who are potters, sculptors, craftspeople or gardeners who wnat to have an input to Millbarn.This might be using the pottery, helping in the garden, with projects and with other volunteers. We would like someone who likes eating and socialising together. Part or all of the rent could be paid in kind. Just lets discuss further. Pictures and details of the flat and us can be found on

    If you only want to come for a short while please read on.

    About us
    Over the last 45 years or so I have developed a large garden and converted an industrial ruin to be my home and a garden that opens to the public.

    Wildlife preservation is at the heart of how I garden. My observation is, that the countryside is now an ecological desert with mono-cultures. Only a fraction of life that was here is now present: my garden should present as much biological diversity as possible. I am always keen on increasing the count of species in the garden. I am looking at new nesting boxes for owls, swifts (birds) and hedgehogs to add to the bats (we have the biggest population of pipistrel in Lancashire, around 350) and rooks that we have already got. There are otters not so far up the river and perhaps we can encourage them to come down to us. The pond already supports a large range of insects and amphibian life. I have a number of beehives.

    Crafts and art workshops
    I have many skills having a well equipped wood workshop and a ceramics/ pottery studio with kiln. I host art and craft groups in a large studio which also lends itself for dance and movement exercises due to its wooden floor. In both my house and garden I collect artworks and pieces of sculpture.

    In my spare time I enjoy hill walking and visiting art exhibitions.

    How we host
    I belive that working together is one of life's pleasures, and most of the time I will work alongside you or at least be around.

    We eat and socialize together most evenings.
    We like animated discussions about life, politics, art, sustainability, crafts, lifestyles, walking, history, poetry and those things of interest I do not know about yet.

    Learning English
    We are happy and more than capable to improve the English skills of guests.
    We have loads of books and material available and are said to be 'cruel' but good teachers!

    People we like
    We always look forward to enjoying the company of crafts -people and artists and those who are happy to share some of their stories and passions. We have hosted nature-lovers, circus-skills-performers, musicians, dancers, wood workers, arts therapists and life lovers. We love having multi generational exchanges over good food and sometimes a little too much wine. As long as you are happy to have open, critical dialogue, whatever your beliefs, you will fit in just fine.

    We eat together in the evenings in our large kitchen. We would like you to take responsibility for cooking the evening meals and take part in some day to day jobs around the house; we have a cleaner for the general maintenance.

    Transport and location
    We live rural, around 20 minutes car drive or 45 minutes bicycle hike (we have a bicycle you can use) away from the center with limited buses. If you like to have access to the center or see other tourist places, you need to be independent and/or organized. We have busy lives and will not always be able to give you lifts, but we try.

    Garden and horticulture
    The River Darwen flows alongside the length of my garden, woodland with poly-tunnel , wildlife pond, out-houses/follies and garden structures. I have designed and built all of them myself. See for more information. We open the garden two week ends a year for the public in the National garden scheme.

    Facilities, accommodation and leisure
    You can sleep in one of our guest rooms in the house, or have your own hut; the guests share a bathroom. We provide all your bedding and towels. We share the fully equipped kitchen in the house. There is a washing machine and a dryer. Fast internet is available.

    You can use the studio for dance, work out, gym or Yoga, there is a summerhouse for meditation or other. There is a decking directly over the river, lots of garden space and a conservatory for additional space. We have a Finish sauna and a Jacuzzi which we are lighting several times a week for guests and ourselves.

    Current projects
    I am currently developing a Sauna/ Jacuzzi/Haman project in the garden. the sauna and Jacuzzi are functioning and only need finishing off. The Haman will be built inside an existing building but will need insulation,tiling etc.

    A 20m long suspension bridge I built across the river has just been demolished by a tree falling on it. I need a helper who is happy to dangle above the river in a harness who wants to be a bridge builder. I've done it before but it is a two person job.Pictures of the bridge before and after can be found om my website. Various other projects have left parts of the garden needing substantial restoration

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help with Eco Projects
    Help around the house
    Charity Work
    Language practice
    Art Projects

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We can provide high quality English conversation, basic carpentry skills, gardening skills, intermediate pottery skills, basic bee keeping. English history , custom and culture.

  • Help


    Large interesting garden which opens for the national Garden Scheme. On going projects. Allotment area, All good for bees! Help with general garden tasks.

  • Languages spoken

    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    German: Intermediate
    Italian: Intermediate

  • Accommodation


    A twin or a double room in my house. Live in vehicles or tents also welcome. We have two other independent, isolated rooms suitable for 1-2 people each if you would like to be more away from the house.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Within reach of Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and the Lake District. I am interest in walking myself. Train station Preston, Lancashire.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 236559786128