Join me on my small farm of two hectares (5 acres) in the heart of rural France to help create a haven for wildlife, my horses and of course the humans who live here too. With a natural spring in the garden and two streams my place is home to much birdlife, red squirrels, coypu and deer. The area is authentically French with gorgeous medieval villages and small market towns which buzz on market days and feel a little sleepy the rest of the time. We are close to Les Alpes Mancelles, an area of outstanding beauty where you can canoe, picnic, cycle or just enjoy a delicious lunch al fresco. There are many places to walk, cycle or swim in lakes in the warmer weather. At Sille forest nearby there is a manmade beach and miles of tracks to explore. The landscape is hilly which offers wonderful views and if you are cycling you need to be fit! The larger towns of Mayenne, Alencon, Le Mans and Laval are a half to one hour's drive away, and Paris is about 1.5 hours by train. There are many beautiful medieval villages to explore: Saint Ceneri le Gerei, Sainte Suzanne and Fresnay sur Sarthe. During the summer months there are many festivals, concerts and other outdoors events in the area.
Public transport here is not available, so it is helpful if you have your own transport, although I can offer lifts to the mainline train station at Evron on some days off and you are welcome to accompany me on my own explorations of the area.
I speak fluent French as well as mother tongue English so can help you with either of these two languages. I speak very rust Spanish too!
You would enjoy working here if you like nature and animals (namely horses and dogs!) and if you like the slower pace of life encountered in the French countryside. The land and garden are beautiful and have lots of quiet spots to read, write, draw, sip a glass of something chilled or snooze.
Help in the house
Whether you want to improve your English, or French, relax in a tranquil and beautiful environment living close to nature, or a base to explore the North of France, you would find time here rewarding. I can support you with language skills, your writing if this is what you like to do or teach you to whisper with the horses. My profession is therapist, business coach and author and have lived in UK, France and Spain and I am happy to share any of my accumulated wisdom as indeed I will be interested in learning yours. I am a novice gardener so input here is particularly appreciated!
There are many projects I need help with according to your skills, the time of year and length of your stay.
I am particularly interested to hear from workawayers who are looking for somewhere August or October who are handy with a strimmer and can help to chop wood and sort out the wood store!
There is also help needed developing and maintaining the land, veg beds and fruit trees.
I have also some creative outdoor projects - turning overgrown areas into wildflower gardens or rockeries and developing the beautiful pond which badly needed rescuing when I moved in. I am building a natural habitat for the horse herd so may need help with this - fencing, creating a water-hole or shelter for example.
There are also decorating projects - painting the guest accommodation or the main farmhouse.
English, French and a little Spanish
You will stay in one of the self-contained guest cottages which have their own bathroom, kitchen and lounge or if these are in use you would have a private bedroom with shared bathroom in the main house. Breakfast and lunch would be mostly 'self-service' - so you prepare your own meals from the kitchen - most evening meals would be provided and taken with the hosts 'en famille'. We tend to eat a mostly vegetarian diet with chicken and fish also a few times a week but can accommodate you if you are a meat-eater. Everyone mucks in with chores such as laying the table, preparing food and washing up and you will keep your own accommodation clean and well-kept. You are also very welcome to cook your own specialities.
Our home here is peaceful but good fun. We enjoy nature and the animals living here - they come first at all times. We love good food and cooking and a grounded way of living. You can join us exploring the region, walking the dogs, or going to market days. In good weather we love to eat outdoors and watch the day-end with the horses grazing close by. I spend time writing as well as working, and at these times like my own space. Equally you will have yours as and when you wish it.
We expect people to work with us on all levels as a team and have regular reviews with visitors to talk about what is working and what is not, for everyone concerned.
We do not have TV available. 3G and 4G are available on-site and Wi-Fi is available in one of the cottages, main house and outdoor patio. You may be lodged in the cottage where wi-fi is not available but are able to access it in the other locations.
Ideally you would have your own transport, as we are not able to give your lifts regularly, although are happy to run you to the nearest train station which is 20 minutes away from where you can reach Le Mans, Paris and anywhere else on one of your days off. Within the local area there are lots of pretty villages to visit and Roman sites to explore. You can canoe, kayak, walk, swim or cycle in the nearby hills and forests, within a 20 minute drive.
Absolutely no smokers please!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week