Restoration help and gardening at a beautiful ancient watermill in Severac-le-Chateau, France

  • Favourited 32 times
  • Last activity: 14 Jun 2024



 Min stay requested: No minimum



  • Description


    We are a couple who have both worked in the arts for many years. Over thirty years ago we fell in love with a thirteenth-century watermill in an idyllic spot in the south-west of France. We have spent many years discovering the history of the building and its amazing machinery and hydraulic system to make a really comfortable family home surrounded by beautiful gardens and with a swimming pool beside the river.
    We are now keen to explore the eco-potential of the buildings and grounds. Since the mill still has its machinery and its system of millrace, sluices, overflows etc, it has huge potential, and in order to achieve this we need to undertake some major projects such as rebuilding the weir that supplies water to the millpond. Our aim is ideally to build a team of volunteers who would be interested in returning more than once to help us with this work and to get involved with numerous other projects on site (there's always a lot going on). Volunteers with an understanding of hydraulics, mechanics or the restoration of ancient buildings would be very welcome, as is anyone who is willing to get involved and enjoy the special character of this amazing site.
    We are now into our third year of welcoming Workawayers, and we have absolutely loved everything about it! Our volunteers have achieved so much, and we have loved sharing the mill with them and introducing them to the local food and culture, and to giving them a taste of authentic French rural life. We provide private bedrooms, laundered linen and three big communal meals a day, usually eaten outside beside the millpond or overlooking the river. We are very flexible about working days and hours, as we want you to get the most of out of being in this lovely region of France. If the idea of living and working in ancient building set in idyllic surroundings in rural France appeals to you, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco Projects
    Help around the house
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Volunteers will have the opportunity to help on an ancient building, to get fully involved in a fascinating and challenging project, and to learn how a traditional watermill worked. They will also be able to enjoy an extremely beautiful location in a lovely part of rural France. There will also be the opportunity to learn practical skills in building and restoration.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    We are looking for two or three practical and creative people who have a feeling for history and enjoy ancient buildings, and who are self-sufficient and happy to work in a remote and beautiful part of rural south-west France. Our major projects in 2019 will include refurbishing the pool and landscaping the area around it, building a new pool cabin and clearing along the millstream, as well as some forestry work, and a choice of many lighter jobs in and around the house and garden to suit individual interests and tastes.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    We offer two very comfortable bedrooms in the main mill house, one with a double bed and the other with a double and a single. Both are furnished with pretty period French and English furniture, and they share their own bathroom and toilet. Volunteers will be welcome to share the comfortable living spaces and to enjoy the extensive grounds and swimming pool.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The mill is 3km from the local small market town. We can provide two good bikes, and will be happy to arrange trips to local places of interest, such as the valley of the Tarn (good for kayaking), the town of Albi (a UNESCO world heritage site famous for its cathedral and its Toulouse-Lautrec museum, Roquefort, the Millau viaduct etc etc. There is a good local bus service into Albi, and trains to Albi and Toulouse. We can be very flexible about working time to make sure volunteers can make the best use of their time off. We have loved hosting Workawayers for the past two years, and have really enjoyed sharing the mill and introducing our volunteers to the local area and its sights and specialities. We are a non-smoking, drug-free household, and we love good food and wine.

  • 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

    We have super fast fibre broadband. I spend a lot of time at the mill working online

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Behind the mill building we have a secluded wildflower meadow beside the river, perfect for camper vans

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    We adore dogs and are always happy to consider well-behaved pooches!

  • 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: 278533384741

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