Volunteer in Permaculture, organic, forest garden area in Devon, UK


United Kingdom

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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Permaculture, organic, forest garden area.
    I planted fruit trees and pips in a field some years ago, the pips are now huge and productive apple trees and several were cleared to make way for a large polytunnel two years ago. The polytunnel is also huge and productive, and now has a rocket mass stove to keep the frost off. The aim of the whole is not for comercial ends, but a rich and varied supply of food plants leading towards self sufficiency. The setting is on the edge of the river Lemon in what some might consider an area of rampantly chaotic land, and others would see it as gloriously chemical- free wild flower and wildlife area. Last year I found a hibernating dormouse that survived the winter. There is a earth - built (cob) hut and a caravan.

    .The aims are to produce vegetables, fruit, herbs, and medicinal plants- and to tame the landscape just a bit, along with some building and maintenance of existing structures and grounds. The methods are generally low tech using other people's discarded materials- often 'repurposed' sometimes experimental, most of them work well. There are lots of different types of jobs, so plenty to choose from, and maybe useful to see an operational outfit.

    Upcoming jobs- Picking and drying herbs, picking and processing other plants. Attacking the Hemlock water dropwort which has become rather too virulent and contented in its ideal conditions. Making a path from recycled stone slabs. Addressing the irrigation pipe work issues, (needs patience and logic!) Planting potatoes, and pulses sowing seeds, potting on, planting out, compost construction, muck moving(!) general tidying, ....etc!
    I have a small dog.
    There is no TV.
    Good wi-fi
    The land is four miles away from my home.
    This Workaway is most suited to those who are particularly interested in forest gardening, non intensive food growing and plants. Three weeks is a good length of time to spend here.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Farmstay help
    Help with Eco Projects
    Help around the house

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    The project is already a good example of a working, off grid system with some unique solutions for addressing irrigation, ventilation and thermal mass to compensate for variations in temperature.
    There are interesting and unusual food plants under cultivation- along with some more usual ones growing in a permaculture chemical free way. The system is "no dig" and many plants self perpetuate, that is they sow their own seeds under direction! There are also more conventional areas of growing to produce food, taking the best methods for particular crops.
    There is an earth building which was initially made using no bought material. It has achieved planning permission and has now been standing for over 20 years.
    I dry, freeze and pickle foods, and have interesting methods I would share.
    The town often has music, there is a new arts centre, community run and in its infancy but with some gems, and there are many pubs for 'cultural enrichment', (!) the nearest is ten steps from the front door. At home there is plenty of conversation!

  • Help


    Gardening, some permaculture experience would be helpful. Initiative and some knowledge of plants will make you a more useful Workawayer!
    Ability to lift, and be generally quite fit. Able to work on projects by yourself with initial instructions.

    Building and maintenance work is quite easy to pick up the skills needed, but might be messy, depending on job.
    Some cooking always welcomed, and routine house cleaning.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    I live in a three storey town house in a small Devon town on the edge of Dartmoor. There is a double bedroom available for your use, another single room, a shared bathroom with bath and separate good shower, and additional loo. There is a washing machine for your use by agreement.
    The house is four miles from the land. On working days I will drive you there and we work together.
    Usually I will cook the evening meal on days that we are working, ( it is always a treat if you do it sometimes) and we will eat together. breakfast, usually a very grand muesli with fresh fruit and grains, is made cooperatively.
    Lunch, also made cooperatively, is generally plant-based vegan. On days off I will supply SOME of the food by negotiation for you to make your own meals. If we eat together we will all do the dishes and clear up, with the help of the dishwasher,
    If you are doing your own you will leave the kitchen tidily.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The town and land are on the edge of Dartmoor, so a short drive to marvellous walks and scenery. A slightly longer drive will take you to the South Devon beaches. There is a bus service to Plymouth, Exeter, Totnes and other towns and villages. (The busses don't run in the evening! ) The town is renowned for food, and there are pubs. There are also venues with live music often playing.

  • 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

The first home grown melon
The garden at home
Morning break
Daily lunch.. As in season
The River Lemon
Artichokes and othe perenials
Showing the off-grid irrigation system for the polytunnel
The cob hut

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Host ref number: 729911113231