Host is looking for help immediately
Bonjour et Bienvenue!
We're an active retired couple (Christine & Alan) who would like someone to help alongside us with various projects such as:
*Gardening - learning and implementing permaculture as part of a village project
*Dry stone walls
*Painting - plus other general building maintenance around our house and land in SW France.
1 or 2 people, offering you a self-contained renovated Pigeonnier Tower - hours and other details by arrangement.
Although we all work together, you need to be self-reliant, with initiative and your preferably your **own transport.
Best fit if you can drive a tractor and use other farming/gardening equipment such as chainsaws, strimmers, ride-on mowers.
**Own transport useful as we are in the countryside, and it is a 20 minute walk to the nearest small village.
See calendar for availability, and we prefer a minimum stay of 7 days.
Also prefer non-smokers and non-picky eaters please. Please note: We cannot accommodate your pets.
**PLEASE DO READ OUR PROFILE FULLY** and understand that we need help with physical, manual work and note that our home is rural, and public transport in the immediate vicinity is non-existent. That doesn't mean we're isolated, just that buses, trains and suchlike are not on the doorstep! There are local trains, in Siorac-en-Perigord and Le Buisson, and we do have bicycles for your use. The terrain is hilly in parts, so cycling does require a reasonable level of fitness. We can supply approximate cycling times to local villages & towns on request.
Our Home is a large peaceful estate in a forest in Perigord Noir.
The buildings have been carefully renovated to retain their original features, whilst offering all modern conveniences and a quality of life which is irresistible. There are also extensive outbuildings - a large garage and workshop, a forage barn and a stable block with six boxes. (We don't currently have horses here, but we do have a pond with many frogs and toads, several goldfish, plus red squirrels, deer, martens and much wildlife of many types.)
We have lovely gardens of 2 hectares, a walnut orchard, plus 7 hectares of meadows currently grass and wildflowers, and the remainder is woodland.
This is a tiny hamlet currently with 5 inhabitants – a ‘lieu-dit’ in French – close to Urval in the Dordogne. It is in one of the most stunning parts of the world, at the heart of an area renowned for its culture, rich history and pre-history. It is nestled in the beautiful, verdant 6,000 hectare Forêt de la Bessède, an ancient, protected area of notable bio-diversity.
The nearest village Urval is a 15 - 20 minute walk, and has a bar/restaurant, a lovely medieval church and a rare 'four banal' or communal bread oven. Shopping is about 10 minutes by car; we do have bicycles for your use, but a car is definitely an advantage.
There are many wonderful places to visit close by, including medieval Sarlat; the caves and National Pre-History Museum at Les Eyzies (open year round); stunning Beynac Castle; La Roque Gageac; the Gallo-Roman museum 'Vesunna' in Perigueux; the magnificent, cathedral-like crystal Gouffre de Proumeyssac, plus many well preserved bastide towns (e.g. Monpazier, Beaumont du Perigord); and beautiful unspoilt villages on the Dordogne, with seasonal canoeing, kayaking and swimming, plus an abundance of weekly, year-round local markets, vineyards and interesting sights.
We’ve been married for over 40 years. We lived in London for many years, still have an address there, and we've travelled the world and spent time living in Australia, Greece, Denmark, Norway, and France - which has always felt like our second home.
We have two grown up children who live and work in London, a grandson born in 2015, and a granddaughter born in 2019.
Christine was a leadership & marketing consultant, author, poet, and editor, an avid reader with a keen interest in cookery, gardening and nature; Alan has an engineering background and was a publisher and project manager, whose interests lie in food and wine, computer technology and nature and wildlife.
We enjoy music and the cinema though it's restricted because of COVID at the moment. We have mobile WiFi which is metered and therefore NOT UNLIMITED - it's effective for email and light surfing, but not suitable for downloading or streaming videos, movies and suchlike, or for gaming or business purposes - and is sometimes limited by weather conditions. Mobile phone and data signal is good over most of the grounds. We can recommend cost effective solutions for volunteers needing greater data usage.
Types of help and learning opportunitiesHelp with Eco ProjectsGardeningDIY and building projectsFarmstay helpCreating/ Cooking family mealsHelp around the houseGeneral Maintenance
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities
WHAT WE CAN OFFER
We can offer a warm and friendly welcome, interesting conversations, great food, a beautiful place to stay surrounded by trees and wildlife.
We can introduce you to local French life and community. We can help with your English or French language. Alan is very skilled and talented in many areas of engineering and design, and can share his practical abilities in estate management and planning.
In the past we have hosted overseas students, both as au pairs and as language students, and been able to share mutually beneficial experiences where everyone was happy.
WHAT WE WOULD LIKE FROM AND CAN OFFER TO A WORKAWAYER
We would ideally like someone who is practical, experienced, willing to help us with the tasks involved in living on an large property:
*general repair work
*able to use a ride-on mower, a tractor, chainsaw, brush-cutter, hedge-cutter, strimmer and suchlike tools.
You should be willing to learn, and if you have some skills in dry stone walling, stonework, tiling, painting, roofing, general repairs that would be useful. Help in the house, and cooking - **you will also be expected to help with some preparation of and clearing up after meals.
We can accept a couple, and suitably experienced individuals. There is no major work to do in terms of construction, it's a question of upkeep, repair and maintenance, gardening, and managing the natural progress of the changing seasons e.g. picking fruit to preserve, gathering nuts.
**You will need work clothes and protective shoes and proper work gloves and do remember a hat or cap for the sun. Please ensure you have your health insurance and tetanus jabs up to date. **
We cannot accommodate special dietary requirements, nor allergies. No other health issues either sorry. We have one cat, male, neutered.
Whilst we like to accommodate many nationalities we ask for a good level of understanding of spoken English and/or French. You will be using tools regularly so you must be able to understand instructions, your safety is important to us.
We would like people who are creative, enjoys plants, can do weeding, pruning, hedge-cutting, and assist with harvesting our fruit and nuts in season. We need people who can lend a hand with the practical physical tasks of keeping the place in good shape and benefit from our experience and knowledge.
We offer 3 meals a day, and there will be shared preparation, cooking, clearing and general chores.
Room with en-suite bathroom.
What else ...
You can hire canoes in nearby Siorac, and river swimming is also available; supervised bathing is on offer close by at Le Buisson de Cadouin, where a safe, clean and refreshing ‘plage verte’ offers another opportunity to experience a dip in the Dordogne’s waters. Local markets abound, with a profusion of fresh produce and colourful wares on display. Night Markets are a delightful summer experience, with local food and produce on sale, and usually entertainment in the form of music and dancing. There's a good cinema close by in Le Buisson, and we are within easy distance of world famous sites such as the caves of Les Eyzies, medieval Sarlat, Beynac, La Roque Gageac and many other places of interest.
Please note this is a rural area and there is no immediate public transport. We have 2 bicycles for you to get about locally, and there is a train service from Siorac and/or le Buisson de Cadouin which goes to Sarlat and Bergerac via local stations.
A little more information
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Space for parking camper vans
We have ample space for parking camper vans.
How many Workawayers can stay?
By arrangement (Maximum 25 hours/week)
These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.
Accuracy of profile:
Accommodation was in the self-contained pigeonnier with en-suite shower room and mealtimes were spent together in the main house.
Christine always presented a variety of wonderful food and ensured you were not left
He has a breadth of experience beyond his age, an inquisitive mind, and it is encouraging and enjoyable to observe his
Christine cooked some great food and the work was varied and enjoyable.
The room (separate en suite) that I was staying in was great.
Nice to meet a friendly and welcoming couple and do some good hard work in
We had some interesting conversations, many laughs, and enjoyed market visits and an
They are both charming and good company, intelligent, versatile and they worked hard. They were willing to undertake a variety of tasks which they took pride in completing, even when perseverance was required.
It was our first experience of Workaway, and a great