We are an English couple Ruth (42) and Graham/Gray (40) who spent two years travelling Asia and Europe in search of a new place to call home, before finding our perfect spot in September 2020 in the countryside of Portugal's Silver Coast.
During our travels we volunteered via Workaway at a number of projects, so are well aware of how this works from the point of view of a volunteer.
We are new to hosting, having spent several months renovating a barn to accommodate volunteers.
Our place consists of two small quintas (farms) set in 6 acres of land in the countryside ten minutes from Alcobaça.
One group of buildings is our home, with a separate, converted barn. The other buildings are in a state of ruin.
The land features various areas of woodland and open land, which had been untended for at least ten years before we bought the place, so there is a lot of ongoing land maintenance to be done, hopefully with a view to adding some camping platforms in the future.
We don't have plans to use the place as a functional farm again, but will install our own organic vegetable patch and orchard for personal use.
For now all our projects are on our home and the land surrounding. Any future projects to renovate the ruined buildings will be taken on by us two with a team of local builders.
We are a friendly, sociable, skilled couple. We both have lots of practical skills and training, meaning that so far we have undertaken most of the construction, electrics, plumbing and ground maintenance ourselves and are, therefore, in search of volunteers to compliment our skill set.
When we're not working on the renovation project we enjoy good food, wine and craft beer, local hikes, cultural day trips and weekends away. We have a huge amount of work to do, but also understand the importance of down time and exploring the area.
In the area around us there are numerous places to explore. Even from your own doorstep there are decent hikes. 25 minutes away are the beaches and big waves of Nazaré. The UNESCO monastery of Alcobaça is 10 minutes away. Plus there are castles, more beaches, hills, another monastery, shopping centres and great restaurants all within 30 minutes of us. So during your 3 day weekend you will be sure to find plenty of stuff to keep you entertained.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Gray is a skilled builder, electrician, plumber, welder and joiner, he is happy to pass on knowledge and is also keen to learn new skills and techniques.
Ruth is an enthusiastic home cook, enjoying food from all around the world and will be happy to share cooking experiences with volunteers, she also makes a mean cocktail, some of which you may get to sample at some point!
Ruth is also trained and experienced in tree health and management and is happy to pass on knowledge and skills.
We can only speak English, so if it's not your first language, you will need to have a good level of English.
We are based in a beautiful area of Portugal, that along with various nature reserves has a plethora of historic sites.
If you enjoy the outdoors you will love our place, even on the land there are opportunities for a nice walk, plus the surrounding forests and hills, the surf town of Nazaré and even some cycle routes.
We are happy to pass on tips about places to visit and on occasion join you for hikes or days out and hope that you will end up loving the Silver Coast as much as we do.
We enjoy socialising and sharing our experiences of travelling. There will surely be opportunities for hanging out together on an evening with a few drinks, music, chat and maybe even board games. Likewise if you prefer your own space you will be in your own accommodation, separate from our house, so we won't be on top of each other all the time!
We ask for 20 hours of help per week. Maximum 5 hours a day - the timetable we will decide on together - for 4 days, giving you a long weekend to do whatever you like, maybe even go away for the weekend.
We request a minimum of a one week stay.
We prefer a slightly older group, so only accept volunteers over 25. We know there are lots of very mature younger folk out there, but we personally find it easier to relate to a slightly older crowd.
We wish to host volunteers with plenty of practical, hands on experience, not necessarily from their job, as there are lots of excellent, self taught DIYers.
All the work is physical, so we just ask that you please don't over estimate your abilities before contacting us.
Volunteers need to be self motivated, well grounded and able to work independently on occasion.
As well as working together on tasks, if you ever spot the potential for a small project of your own, that fits within our budget, then we will gladly discuss it with you, we know from our experience as volunteers how rewarding it is to be given the responsibility of your own projects.
We would like volunteers with experience of practical tasks including bricklaying, construction and carpentry, but will also consider anyone with lots of hands on experience.
Current planned works are a new bathroom, bedroom, porch and decking area.
There is always loads of land maintenance, so anyone with experience of heavy duty gardening or ground work would be welcome. As well as open land we have mature fig trees, olive trees, young eucalyptus and a forest of holly oak, all of which require ongoing maintenance.
All year round there is strimming/brush cutting, grass cutting, tree maintenance, firewood prep. We also plan to put in a veg patch, so help with the implementation of that would be excellent.
Essentially we will be working together on a variety of tasks. Some days heavy manual tasks shifting timber from one part of our site to another, some days mind numbingly boring painting of external walls, some days more interesting and intricate construction or carpentry tasks.
We just ask that you come to us with an open mind and an enthusiasm to crack on with whatever task you are assigned.
This host offers a language exchange
Happy to help with English. Keen to learn Portuguese
We have a self contained, converted barn to accommodate volunteers. You will have your own private entrance, fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, TV area, woodfire, washing machine and terrace.
There are two finished bedrooms, one with a double bed and one with a bunk, so we can currently accommodate 4 volunteers.
We have a third bunk room that is yet to be completed.
We recycle all the grey water onto the land, so request that only eco cleaning products are used. We will provide showergel, toothpaste, hand soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets and cleaning products that meet these criteria.
You will be sharing the communal space with fellow volunteers, so it is your responsibility to keep them clean and tidy.
Once a week we will have a lunch or dinner together, with some alcohol provided and will likely also have the occasional impromptu BBQ.
If you have your own transport that would be great, as we are slightly remote, otherwise Ruth can take you to the supermarket in Alcobaça once or twice a week at a prearranged time.
As previously mentioned there are loads of opportunities for exploration in the area.
There are some local bus services into Alcobaça on weekdays during term time.
Alcobaça has a bus station serving various parts of Portugal.
The nearest train station is 20 minutes away.
If it fits in with our own spare time activities Ruth can provide a lift, within a reasonable distance!
We have a couple of push bikes which are available for volunteers to borrow. You could cycle over the hills on the road into Alcobaça or go for a ride in the local area on gravel tracks.
We got several months of volunteering under our belts while travelling, in a variety of locations and in differing levels of comfort, including a jungle paradise in Sri Lanka, with lovely rooms and three traditional meals each day; super basic digs on a Cambodian island where our host even ran out of drinking water one day and a Bulgarian mountain retreat, staying in mud brick houses with an exuberant host. So we know what volunteers are likely to have experienced and what their expectations are.
We are open minded and have met many different characters during our travels and are always keen to meet and get to know new folk, maybe even find some new life long friends.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
There is a WiFi router in the volunteer barn, with a good signal throughout and unlimited usage
A small 2 berth campervan can be accommodated. We also have literally acres of space if anyone wishes to pitch their own tent
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 4 days a week