Help with a non-profit, eccentric garden project towards wildlife preservation near Preston, UK

  • United Kingdom
  • Favourited 538 times
  • Last activity: 02/02/2023




  • Description


    I am a retired teacher of chemistry whose hobby over the last 45 years has been to develop this house and garden into a place that can be enjoyed by many people. The house was an industrial ruin, stabling for a paper mill and the garden has been developed from a wasteland that was formally occupied by a corn mill (from 1360) and a cotton spinning mill (from 1784) both of which had been demolished. The garden has been opened to the public for charity, the National Gardens Scheme, but not as a business for the last 30 or so years. All my artistic endeavours have been invested into this garden.

    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 two Jackdoors nest with us. 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, raised to do woodwork, I have a well equipped workshop. When I retired I took a degree in ceramics and have a ceramics/ pottery studio with kiln. .In the house there is a large studio, which also lends itself for dance and movement exercises due to its wooden floor. These facilities are available to guests here.. 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 do tasks 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 some of 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 ride (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. There is woodland , a poly-tunnel , a wildlife pond, out-houses/follies and garden structures. I have designed and built all of them myself. This year because of covid I am opening my garden by appointment between May and July hoping to get more guests in total than I could get in weekends with social distancing.

    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 Jacuzzi and a Finish sauna 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.
    We have just, with help from a workawayer who we christened 'Obelix' , built a stone circle at the far end of the garden with stunning views back down to the river.

    A 20m long suspension bridge I built across the river was demolished by a tree falling on it. . It has been rebuilt with the help of a current guest. There is a plan to create access up the far bank to a viiewing platform. 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

    Charity Work
    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • 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: Intermediate
    Italian: Intermediate
    German: Beginner

  • 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

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    the WiFi here is fiber to the house and so is fast.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • 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

Host ref number: 236559786128

Feedback (17)


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Accuracy of profile: (4.8)

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