We are a British family (Fiona, plus Katy - 16 - and Patrick -19) living on a 20 hectare organic farm in the Dordogne in south-west France since 2011.
The farm has evolved from an organic egg farm to focus more on wildlife and ecology. We have plans to rewild the farm - recreating hedgerows and planting native trees, creating ponds and bird hides and restoring wildflower meadows and other natural habitats. We would also like to develop a permaculture food forest on our 8 hectares of pasture. Our animal family includes Elliot, a retired racehorse; Jerry, a donkey with a sense of humour; our dog Ushi, a Beauvier-Suisse/Lab cross; three cats - Lily, Jade and Ozzy; one rabbit - Totoro; chickens and ducks.
The house is in the middle of our 20 hectare farm, so the nearest neighbours are about 1km away - peace and quiet guaranteed! It is nestled into a meadow with woods to the back and lovely views, especially from the back garden. The farm itself consists of woods and meadows and fields. If you like wildlife and nature this is the perfect place for you - birds, butterflies and wildflowers abound. And at night the stars are spectacular. We have a wood-fired pizza oven and a campfire and picnic area in the orchard if you like outdoor cooking and eating.
We also have four large safari-style tents in our meadows and woods. Every summer we have guests coming from all over Europe to immerse themselves in nature and sample life on an organic farm.
There are hundreds of walking and cycling possibilities straight out the front door, and we have bikes you can borrow. The River Dronne is 2 minutes away by car/ 10 minutes by bike, and is a lovely spot for swimming, canoeing, picnicking.
Our nearest village, Montagrier, is very pretty, perched on a rocky outcrop, and has a very good restaurant and interesting church. Tocane St Apre is a slightly bigger village only 3kms away and has all services - supermarket, bakeries and butchers, bars and cafes, banks etc. The area itself is lovely to explore - plenty of very pretty villages, including Brantome - the 'Venice of France'. The nearest big town is Perigueux, with its medieval alleyways, Moorish Cathedral and boutique shops and restaurants. In short, there is plenty to do and see here, and the sun is (nearly) always shining!
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Staying here would be a chance to speak some French, learn about wildlife and ecology and life in rural France. As we are a British/Australian family installed in France for the last 15 years, we have many cultures to draw from - and we love discovering new cultures and ways of being from the Workaway volunteers we've had over the years. As we offer accommodation to tourists on our farm there are always interesting people coming and going hailing from around Europe - plenty of opportunity to exchange and share and open horizons.
We would welcome help looking after the animals and helping with wildlife restoration projects. Tasks might include feeding the animals, collecting eggs, weeding or watering the veggie garden, planting trees, fencing, grooming the horse and donkey, picking fruit, foraging for wild foods, making jam and general land maintenance (strimming, pruning, grass cutting). We may also need help with cooking for us all - we love sharing recipes with our volunteers from around the world! There are hundreds or other projects just awaiting creative people who fancy leaving their mark on our farm - previous Workaway volunteers have created sculptures from scrap metal in the barn, built rustic fences and gates from wood from the forest, made signs, built planters from pallets etc. We have loads of tools and bits and pieces in the barn - you are only limited by your imagination! We welcome all ideas and contributions.
You will be accommodated in a very comfortable, well equipped and spacious caravan with a hot shower, cosy bedroom and great views. We tend to all cook and eat together in the house or garden - a moment to share stories over some good local wine!
Spending time on our farm is an opportunity to escape from the rat-race and general stress of city life. The pace of life is totally different in rural south-west France, and being surrounded by nature is a daily tonic! As the farm is organic the wildlife is abundant - we have swallowtail butterflies, nightingales, golden orioles, deer, salamanders and midwife toads, amongst other things!
In spring the orchids are amazing. At night we have bats and glowworms, and the night sky is spectacular as we are not affected by light pollution. Our nearest neighbours are about a kilometre away. You will be able to pick up some French, learn about organic farming, wildlife and generally experience rural French life.
There are many opportunities for outdoor sports enthusiasts - cycling, rock climbing, caving, canoeing, microlight flying etc. We look forward to you enriching our lives too with your knowledge and skills - whatever you can bring to our projects.
The farm is not far from the world famous Dordogne and Vezere valleys, where you will find a huge number of caves, including Lascaux, and countless chateaux. We are also near the famous wine-producing areas of Bergerac and Bordeaux.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
5 hours per day maximum