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Hello beautiful humans from Daryl & DiscoDog - a brand new host for Workaways in 2021. Come work off-grid with us and our animals on this beautiful woodland smallholding in the Chiltern countryside, just a half hour from London.
I am managing this wonderful piece of and with dairy goats, chickens, ducks, a dog and your help! on a 6 acre plot of woodland. Whilst we're unable to live on site, or stay all year-round due to local council guidelines, we can however stay during the working months to facilitate our agriculture and forestry work!! There is however work to do all year round especially the colder months if you are brave enough to face the midst of winter...
This means we can experience staying off-grid in this beautiful natural space; maintaining animals, learning permaculture and forest gardening, and working to create a healthier, more sustainable and productive environment.
I have been working on the land since 2016 with friends, family & volunteers and so far the land has progressed from being an unbalanced, dark, infertile habitat to now including many growing projects including animal pens, a barn, a young orchard, a forest food growing area. And of course a big bonfire pit for cosy evenings, all hidden amongst the diverse woodland. This is early days and things are not quite the visual haven I have planned but we hope you can see the beauty in the process and be excited by the visible improvements that you can be part of!
It can be quite busy here at intervals with up to 4 workawayers here at a time, though this space is plenty big enough to isolate yourself away working or in your own time, or to be as communal as you want...
We are aiming for volunteer stays of about 4 weeks each, though if we work really well together we can discuss extending your stay :-)
As for me, I’m trying to create something more meaningful and long-lasting. With all the volunteers that have taken part here, we each put our life experiences to use in different ways and have learned a whole variety of skills in this environment, but still are very much experimenting and learning as we go, so we hope this is the ideal space for us to learn from one another!
To give you a truly honest expectation of off-grid woodland work we all have racked our brains for what we think are the down sides of living this lifestyle:
- Secluded setting (although only a 5 minute drive to town)
- Poor internet and mobile connection
- Totally off-grid therefore limited electric and water (for example, it’s not sustainable to have daily showers here), we have 12V electric only so there is no fridge, freezer or other high consumption appliances here (basically we can only run things that have a USB lead)
- Outside toilet
- It can be Cold English weather... (an although none of the sleeping accommodations have heating in them, we all keep toasty warm in the communal shed with the log burner fire going all of the time!)
Ps. This is a private smallholding, we make no profit from our land or animals and therefore are looking for volunteers to give their time in exchange for accommodation, food and experience.
Aide avec des éco-projets
Bricolage et projets de construction
S’occuper des animaux
Aide dans une ferme
Cuisine/repas pour la famille
Aide à la maison
I hope you'll gain a fun and eye-opening experience of off-grid living. Whatever time of year you visit expect to leave well versed in animal care, fire starting and getting back to nature. Maybe you'll learn to build from found materials and see the potential in things as we aim to. Maybe you'll work out whether you really do want to keep your own animals or whether you're cut out for rural or off grid life. Hopefully we'll all learn more about how to support each other & nature, grow our own foods, and be self-sustainable whilst surrounding ourselves in healing trees.
I am looking for eager, active, team players. People who want to work because they can be excited by the bigger picture even if right now they’re just lugging logs or picking up sticks! Work can sometimes be heavy, long, cold, muddy and so on. I find it highly rewarding but you probably need to be a hardy person that is physically fit and not put off by hard work, mud or creepy crawlies!
We all follow a live and let live lifestyle here and love to meet similarly open-minded people. A love and respect for nature is a must - so no litterbugs here! Meanwhile, an ability to be independent both in work and free time is also appreciated.
Jobs to expect:
Feeding animals/Milking goats (twice daily), Cleaning out animals, Building log walls, Collecting fallen sticks/Making brush walls, Building projects (eg. garden beds, hoop houses, barn, animal pens and general maintenance), Moving soil and wood chip, Weeding/Watering/Planting/Harvesting, Bramble/Bracken clearing, Axing firewood, Maintaining paths, Etc.
We will also share all the ‘household’ chores of cooking, washing up, and cleaning the communal room (as well as keeping your caravan clean and tidy).
The general Year Plan for 2021:
Winter - Building the Forest Garden (almost finished) and a Long Drop Toilet (complete)
Spring - Fixing up animal shelters, Goat kids and baby Chicks, Gardening etc, (all complete)
Summer - Building an Open Barn (almost finished), Gardening/plant maintenance. (Ongoing)
Autumn (Now) *Finish building the Barn, *Finish the edible growing area, *Firewood axing, *Prep for Winter...
For more detailed information about a specific month you’d like to visit please email us!
As this is a private smallholding we don’t function like a job, our hours are pretty flexible and weather dependant. So your 25 hours a week may include long days working followed by days off sunbathing or hiding from the rain. We hope you’ll let me know when you’re inspired and want to crack on with a job and when you’re needing an extra rest day so that we can organise our scheduling together.
I have 2 lovely old caravans available, and a lovely 3 bedroom tent!
One caravan has a double bed, 2 wardrobes & kitchen.
The second is larger, technically a 5 birth but could comfortably have 2 double beds or one double bed and a sitting area. This has a kitchen, wardrobe.
There is basic 12v electric in both caravans for lights, although none of the sleeping accommodations have heating in them, we all usually keep warm in the communal shed with the log burner fire on most of the time).
We have just installed an inside & outside shower area and yes there is now hot water in the communal shed (very exciting!) so we can all be a bit more spoilt in 2021. The communal shed has sofas, kitchen, wood burner for heat, and tool storage. Outside there is a large bonfire pit and cooking facilities (BBQ, hot plate made of an old gas bottle and wood fired oven), Also maybe a hot tub...
Most people like to spend alot of the time outside in the warm months and you can expect a good bit of bbq cooked food then. We all usually eat vegetarian here, but do occasionally buy meat, so we aim to be very flexible and understanding of everyone’s dietary needs - so do please let me know in advance!,
Better yet teach me some of your favourite recipes! We will share out most roles here including cooking so be ready to get involved. (I should also mention that although most people visiting are happy to have meat served, it is unlikely we will provide meat more than a couple times a week for cost and sustainability reasons.)
Being off-grid means resources such as water and electricity are limited and to be respected, therefore used sparingly. There is very limited phone signal in the woods and poor 4G so whilst Internet and phone calls via your mobile are accessible in areas of the woods, this place is most ideally for those people hoping for a break from the screens and social media of modern life.
I hope our workawayers will be excited to get involved and put the hours in, but in your free time you may want to hike through the countryside, sunbathe* in our woodland clearing, read in a hammock, walk/jog the dog through the surrounding woodland paths, sketch, play games as a group, start your own little projects (perhaps you want to build a seating area, carve a branch or plant a tree guild). Beyond the Woods there is a number of quaint English villages just 10 minutes drive away. Plus a couple larger towns half hour away for shopping trips and of course iconic London is just a half hour train ride away for a full day or weekend of urban attractions.
There is no public transport passing the site itself but we are happy to provide occasional lifts so that you can experience more of the area during your time here.
*Please note, some of us are sun lovers and true naturists. This means if you are here in hot weather we may undress for the day, sunbathe naked or just work nude to prevent overheating. This isn't a promiscuous thing or something we expect you to be involved in. We believe in the freedom of natural bodies and follow a live and let live attitude. If nudity offends you we probably aren't the right fit for you, but if you are happy to accept this quirk feel free to apply :-) In a similar vain we have an open outside shower which you are welcome to use or not use depending on your preference - the inside shower is there for those preferring more privacy.
**Speaking of live and let live it's worth noting that Daryl is a smoker, and yes you can smoke things in the communal lounge area with the window open and anywhere outside (just respectfully dispose of your waste products :). If you are adverse to smoking please consider that Daryl and other visitors will be sometimes smoking in the lounge area, but will be respectful of non smokers at the time...
Accès Internet limité
Nous avons des animaux
Nous sommes fumeurs
We can host almost any size vehicle, we have a hard track for access, secure off road out of sight.
Please note this land is not completely fenced in and our livestock is sometime freeranged or walked in the area. Therefore, please consider whether your pet's behaviour is safe and appropriate for this site. Thanks :)
Plus de 2
A flexible 25 hours per Week
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