In the past we have had volunteers who have arrived better equipped for a beach holiday than for a working holiday, so we’ve put together this list of things that we think you should consider packing for your visit. It’s not intended to be comprehensive or set in stone, and we don’t mean to be patronising to anyone who has volunteered before!
It’s important to realise that we are not near to extensive shops and that those that we have are not as well stocked as those that you may be used to at home. If in doubt about something you might need, or want to buy locally, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to advise.
So here’s our suggested list:
- Work clothes which you don´t mind getting filthy. Remember that in summer you need to protect bare shoulders from the sun, and in winter you will find multi layers more practical than one thick one. In the colder months, if in doubt pack extra.
- Solid work shoes or boots are essential. You will be moving through areas where we are still building, in the forest sharp branches can easily pierce thin soles, and from experience we can tell you that a goat on your foot is heavy. In winter, ensure footwear is sufficiently waterproof. Flip flops or Crocs to wear in water might also be helpful when bathing in the local rivers.
- Sun hat, & sun cream if you´re likely to use it. There isn´t a great deal of choice locally, though we do keep some in stock in the shop. We’re hoping to be able to sell an eco friendly sun cream very soon. Watch the blog!
- Work gloves. We no longer provide these as we got sick of people leaving them lying around then expecting us to replace them. They are light to pack so it is easier to bring them than to buy them locally. Something that you could wear when dealing with brambles or moving rocks is probably the sort of quality you should aim at.
- Waterproofs. We don´t stop work when it rains! Waterproof trousers are particularly useful as long grass remains wet even after rain has stopped. I’ll say this again. Waterproofs. If you haven’t got waterproof clothing and it’s raining, you will be wet, uncomfortable and cold.
- Please bring a decent quality sleeping bag. If you are camping, also your tent, sleeping mats etc. We provide a sheet for the mattresses in the caravans and I have a few blankets to loan in the winter on a first come first served basis. We´re fairly high up, so it can get chilly at night even whilst it´s still hot in the daytime during Spring and Autumn. You might appreciate something warm to wear at night in the cooler months. Our caravans are not heated.
- A good light source of some sort. There is no electricity in our communal space, and it´s dark! A head torch would be the most sensible for moving around. Solar powered or wind up lanterns are a good bet for evening use. We do not allow candles in the summer months due to the fire risk they pose.
- Ecologically friendly toiletries and clothes wash soap. Our grey water returns to the land and we do not wish to pollute it. We do sell locally made products in our shop so you can stock up here if you don’t want to weigh down your luggage.
- If you can’t live without coffee, bring along a jar of instant. We don’t drink coffee at home, but you’ll be able to boil water if you’d like to make your own. The local shop does not sell instant coffee!
- If you have space, you may wish to bring along your own small hand tools such as snippers or a trowel. We provide garden tools but we never seem to have enough during busy spells, and sometimes it’s less frustrating to have your own than to wait for another volunteer to finish using something. We are very grateful for any tools left with us when guests move on.
- Swimming gear for the summer months.
- A lighter or matches to light the storm kettle. Smoking is restricted to certain areas and you may not light fires.
- Something to carry cold water in, or a hot drink in winter. It´s really important to keep hydrating.
- If you will be bringing items that need recharging (laptops, mobile phones etc) don´t forget an adaptor if they don´t have a European plug. You’ll need to recharge gadgets elsewhere, so avoid all but essentials!
- If you cannot live without internet you may wish to bring a laptop / smartphone. We do not have internet access for guests at the farm but there is a wireless service within walking distance where you will need your own computer. There are places where you can access the internet using borrowed computers a little further away, so it is not essential by any means.
- A photocopy of your passport, with emergency contact names and numbers back at home written on the back. Photocopies of any insurance policies, to leave with us in case of an emergency where we need to take you to a hospital. We will not allow you to stay without providing us with a passport number. We don’t feel this is unreasonable considering that we are inviting you into our family home.
- Something to make your hosts happy 😉 British tea bags, marmite, something interesting from your country, or any secondhand books in English (for us & other guests, or for the boys) will make us smile before you even start work. Not essential packing though, obviously! A contribution to our tree fund would be equally appreciated and doesn´t add to luggage weight!
- If you have special dietary needs we hope you’ll have the courtesy to discuss these with us before arriving. We have a limited food budget so, whilst we’ll do our best to keep everyone happy, if there is anything that you feel you cannot live without it might be sensible to bring it along. Please discuss with us if in doubt.
Any questions? Just ask!