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We are fully booked until the middle of February. We are looking for volunteers to join us from the 15th February on wards.
We are professional married couple living in a Scandinavian style house on the edge of a small village called Dolton in the county of Devon in the southwest of England. We have stunning views looking out over a Devon Wildlife Nature Reserve and beautiful countryside. We have a smallholding (approximately 2 hectares) which we run organically.
We are scientists and knowledgeable conservationists with strong green, botanical, geological and ornithological interests and enjoy riding, mineralogy, gardening, breeding rare chickens, jam and gift/jewellery making and preparing educational resources for children.
The animals are well-mannered and affectionate and are family members. The animals' needs always come first.
We are about a 45 minute drive from Dartmoor National Park.
Help in the house
We also have been hosts on other sites for a long time (over 16 years) and are keen to learn from our helpers too.
As well as normal daily communication and conversations, we are happy to give regular formal English improvement lessons if required. You will be treated as a member of our family and will be included in as much as you wish to take part. We love learning about new people and their cultures and hope that you will learn from us and our way of life and culture.
We live on the outskirts of a small traditional village called Dolton which is very tranquil but has many social activities that previous volunteers have enjoyed taking part in - for example bell-ringing, Bingo, singing, sampling the local beer in two historic Pubs, kick boxing, dancing, yoga, Art and Crafts classes, Book Club, Open Mic. There are many opportunities for you to keep fit.
The coast is an easy journey by public transport if you wish to go to the beach to swim, picnic, sunbathe and/or surf. There are surf schools where you can hire boards, wetsuits and have lessons.
Riding is available (in free time) for someone reasonably experienced (and of a suitable height and weight) and who has their own riding insurance and can bring their own riding helmet (your helmet must correspond to the CORRECT safety standard acceptable in the UK - please research this on the internet) and suitable footwear. We prefer someone who has some experience of horses. We also accept people who do not ride but please note that we are not able to offer any riding for beginners. If you wish to be considered as a rider, please include photos and a video of you riding on your profile.
My neighbour and I are both experienced trainers and compete to a high level. Previous long stay volunteers have enjoyed competing some of our horses and have benefited from riding lessons and exploring the local countryside with the horses. For safety, the amount and type of riding depends on a person's experience, suitability of correct riding helmet and footwear and takes place during recreation (free time) periods.
We will show you how to do many things depending on the time of year you are with us. For example how to sow seeds, look after wildlife, make your own jewellery and/or jam, how to harvest vegetables and fruit from the gardens and how to care for the horses and dogs. If you are interested in rocks and minerals, we have a vast collection which we would be happy to show you and teach you about.
We are easy going and enjoy what we do and love our animals. We ask that you are easy going too and flexible as some days there may be more to do while on other days there will be less. Days off can be arranged to fit in with the tasks. In return you will find that we will be flexible about what you want to do and when you have your days off. In return for your help you will learn many skills, hopefully have a lot of fun and be treated as one of the family!
People from all backgrounds and nationalities are welcome. However we do not accept anyone under the age of 18. Also we are not able to accept anyone travelling with their own animals.
Experience with horses is preferred and helpers must be prepared to join wholeheartedly in the daily routine and be willing to learn new skills and live as a member of the family.
We need help (approx. 5 hours a day) with our animals (horses, many chickens and 2 playful friendly small dogs), the fields, the garden and in the house IN EXCHANGE for all food, accommodation, a beautiful area and the opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people. You will also be expected to help share the preparation and cooking of meals and to keep your bedroom and bathroom clean. Daily tasks might include cleaning the horses' stables, preparing their food, giving them fresh water, grooming them, changing their rugs, putting them in their field and bringing them in, cleaning and checking their field, gardening, feeding the chickens, cleaning out the chicken houses, walking the dogs......... Other tasks might depend on the season - such as sowing and germinating seeds, planting vegetables, weeding, harvesting vegetables and fruit, making jam/preserves ..........
Please note that caring for animals is physically hard and the help continues regardless of the weather conditions. You need to be fit and have stamina.
You will have your own double bedroom in a comfortable house (with your own bathroom - only to be shared if there is another volunteer during your stay). You will also have access to all other parts (kitchen, sitting room, dining room etc) of the house. There is a washing machine available for your clothes.
We are a non smoking household. NO smoking applies to the whole farm both indoors and outdoors.There are NO alternative areas for smoking so we are not able to accept anyone who smokes.
We cater for all dietary requirements (especially piscaterians, vegetarians and coeliacs) but unfortunately NOT vegans (as we use our own fresh delicious eggs). We cannot provide Halal nor Kosher food.
There is no TV but excellent Wifi internet, books, DVDs and many activities in the village are available.
Mobile phone reception is reasonable around the house.
Helpers are encouraged to consider and respect this farm as their home during their stay. It is a very relaxed farm and we, the hosts, hope that helpers are prepared to take part in many social activities as well as working. We have recently built new stables for the horses and ponies and plan to establish an orchard and develop the gardens. We have very high standards of safety and care.
Our neighbours also have horses and everyday we work cooperatively sharing resources and machinery and caring for each others' animals. There are potentially a number of horses available for volunteers to ride in their free time (if sufficiently experienced, with their own horse riding insurance and of a suitable weight and height). This is not available for people who have had little riding experience.
There is a regular bus service, so that on your free days you can travel to the coast, local towns or the city of Exeter. There are many cultural and historic places of interest. Please do some research (Google Earth) about the area so that you can see where in Devon we are. However if you want city life we are not the place for you. There are no towns or cities near to the village.
If you are travelling from Exeter, you need to take the Stagecoach bus 5B from Exeter St. David's railway station or Exeter Bus Station stand 3 to Barfield Road, Dolton - we will collect you from here - the bus is too large to be able to travel into the village.
There are NO 5B buses on a Sunday OR on an English public holiday. The 5B bus departs from Exeter every 2 hours and the journey takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. The last bus leaves Exeter at 20.00.
The nearest airport is Exeter International Airport. There are regular buses (Stagecoach bus 56) from the airport to Exeter Bus Station. The bus from the airport to Exeter leaves the airport every 30 minutes. The journey to the bus station takes approximately 30 minutes.
If you come via Heathrow Airport, you can take a National Express Service Coach (NX501) from the airport to the city of Exeter then the 5B bus to Dolton (as described above). It is a good idea to PRE-BOOK this.
If you come via Bristol Airport, you can take a Falcon Coach - it is a good idea to PRE-BOOK this - from the airport to the city of Exeter then the 5B bus to Dolton (as described above). Or the simplest way, but more expensive, is to get the bus from Bristol Airport called the Bristol Flyer Express (Number A1) to Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station. The bus leaves outside the only entrance to the airport about every ten minutes. Bristol Temple Meads is the first stop and takes about 21 minutes. At Bristol Temple Meads railway station take a train to Exeter St. David's railway station. There are one or two trains to Exeter every hour throughout the day. Bristol Temple Meads railway station is big so check carefully the platform number for your train.
When in Exeter the 5B bus leaves from just outside Exeter Station and comes to Dolton. There is only one bus stop in Dolton. We always greet our visitors at the bus stop. The 5B bus from Exeter to Dolton leaves outside the railway station at 12.23, 14.23, 16.25, 17.45, 18.50, & 20.08. The 5B starts from the bus station a few minutes earlier.
You cannot pre-book the Stagecoach buses. You must pay for your ticket on the bus with English MONEY - make sure you have small notes (£5) or £1 coins. The drivers do not like to accept large notes (£10 or £20). Some buses may have a card machine but do not rely on this.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
5 hours per day; (max 25 hours/week)
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