We’ve just returned back from our family ‘holiday’ – a very enjoyable week’s WWOOFing on a small-scale permaculture farm in the beautiful Devonshire countryside. For those of you that don’t know, WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is an organisation that teams up willing volunteers with hosts in order to learn about and practice all aspects of organic growing and farming. The host provides accommodation and meals in exchange for help with the work required on the farm. This may not be everyone’s idea of a holiday, but we were all so excited about it and ended up having a brilliant time!
Our WWOOFing Hosts
We were made very welcome by our hosts Doug and Cari at Tawny Oaks, where we were given a caravan which was very comfortable for the 3 of us – a log-burning stove made it really nice and toasty during the night!! The main house is situated in around 4 acres of land with woods, greenhouses, gardens, vegetable beds and a rockery.
There were other WWOOFers from France and England on site and it was great fun meeting them and spending very enjoyable evenings around the dining table chatting (or at least trying to remember French words from our school days!).
Our activities during the week included composting, weeding, clearing the woodland, cleaning the (very large!) greenhouse and preparing mushroom logs. As well as all of this we learnt (and put into practice) the art of ‘Hugelkultur’ – a method of composting using a base of rotting wood (in this case, surplus tree trunks) to provide a warm, nutrient-rich, moisture-retaining medium for plants to grow in.
A great experience!
As well as being very enjoyable, we gained some valuable experience and insights into various aspects of permaculture. We hope to become WWOOFing hosts soon as we have lots of exciting projects taking place (we just need to prepare some accommodation) as it’s a great way for people to exchange ideas and information, meet new friends and contacts and travel around the world. You can find more information on WWOOFing on the website www.wwoof.org.uk.