Volunteers & WWOOFers
Your guide to volunteering at
Hay Meadow Farm
Volunteering and WWOOFing is an exchange – volunteers help in exchange for food, accommodation and learning opportunities in permaculture, eco building, sustainable living and for work experience in the hospitality industry.
We are pursuing a simple, sustainable lifestyle. We grow fruit and vegetables to supply our café and farm shop as well as for ourselves. We hope in time to develop our garden, business, systems and life style to be more self sufficient and sustainable with the minimum carbon footprint, we are still quite some way from where we would like to be but as you know it’s all about the journey.
Volunteers will have opportunities to try a wide variety of tasks depending on the season and if you have chosen a particular area in which to work. The majority of volunteers choose to work in the gardens learning permaculture principals and methods. This includes: sowing seeds, making compost, permaculture gardening and design, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, eco/straw bale/timber frame building. If there are any areas you are especially interested in please do let us know on your application.
What you can expect from us:
We always remember that volunteers and WWOOFers are an exchange. These expectations form the basis of that exchange.
No WWOOFing relationships should involve money or payment, nor should it resemble an employer/employee relationship. Every WWOOF exchange should be a freely-chosen exchange based on trust and friendship between the volunteer and the host.
We will provide you with warm, clean and comfortable accommodation during your stay with us, this is usually a caravan that is fitted with a log burner. All our volunteer accommodation units are quiet and cosy, we would not expect you to stay somewhere we would not stay in so we make a big effort in ensuring your accommodation is pleasant. We will also provide you with all the bedding and towels you will need.
We have a community building with a lounge/dining area, 2 shower and toilet rooms, a kitchen and a utility room with a washing machine.
The garden manager usually cooks together with the WOOfers twice a day for lunch and supper. We try to base our meals on what comes out of the garden(mostly vegetarian) to give an accurate reflection of what sustainability could be like. Breakfast is usually on a help yourself basis.
Since we are always on the road towards sustainability, we supplement our garden food with bought in ingredients (Organic where possible). It is very important to tell us about any special dietary requirements before you arrive. Please make sure you tell us of any dietary requirements you may have on your application form.
We will try to do all we can to make sure you learn about the things that interest you the most, although you may be required at the odd time to lend a hand with something else on the farm. This may include working in the Bed and Breakfast where needed or doing odd jobs around the property.
It is very important to us to make sure your time at Hay Meadow Farm is not only informative but also fun. We are a small community of friends and all have a musical/festival/artistic background so if you play any instruments please do bring it along. Any kind of creative skill is welcome!
We also encourage our volunteers to spend some time in the broader area and for those spending more than 5 days with us we will try to arrange trips to local sites that maybe of interest to you. If you have a bicycle or car don’t hesitate to bring it along! If you would like to go exploring on your own please keep in mind that the nearest bus stop is 3 miles away(an hour walk and 20 minute cycle)
What we expect from a volunteer:
If you wish to have a residential place with us we ask that it is ideally for a minimum of 5 days. We expect you to work with us for 5 hours a day 5 days per week with the weekends to yourselves. Our usual working time for volunteers is 8am to 1pm with a 30 min break at 11am, we cook lunch at 1pm and then the afternoon and evenings you are free to enjoy your time here. We normally start cooking the evening meal at 19:00.
There are always jobs to be done. Sometimes they’re not the most interesting jobs but they do give a realistic picture of what life is like on a farm or smallholding. We will try to vary the work as much as possible to keep it informative and enjoyable. Please bear in mind that farm work can be quite physically taxing, although we don’t expect a huge amount, being able to push a wheel barrow and work a spade is recommendable. Be prepared to get your hands dirty as well, we tend to work with a lot of horse manure and generally mucky garden materials. If you are concerned about any of the above mentioned aspects, then please email us with your concerns before deciding to come and stay.
We enjoy spending mealtimes with the volunteers and find it the perfect way to exchange thoughts and ideas; it’s also the perfect forum for making sure everyone is happy with the exchange. In the spirit of “Many hands make light work” we expect you to get involved with the preparation of meals and the clearing up afterwards especially if we are all eating together.
If, after a hard day’s labour, all you feel like doing is putting your feet up and nodding off, that’s absolutely fine. You are not expected to join us every evening. You will very likely be travelling with a good book. In many cases, hosts and WWOOFers do find themselves having animated conversations into the evening and find that this is an enjoyable part of the exchange, but there are times when we all need some solitude. As always, it’s best to be honest and upfront about this, please do not feel there is any expectation of you outside your working time. We often have more than one WWOOFer at a time, volunteers can benefit from each other’s company during evenings and days off but you are welcome to spend your free time however you wish.
Having said this, due to cancellations and certain less busy times of year, we can’t always guarantee that there will be other WOOFers on the farm. If this is something important to you, please check with us to make sure that there will be other WOOFers on the farm during your proposed visit.
We have a communal wi-fi hotspot however due to our remoteness we have a very slow connection. We ask that there be no streaming and downloading as we use the internet for research and business purposes. The occasional Skype conversation or the equivalent is perfectly fine. We encourage our WOOfers to experience being “unplugged” during their stay and to take full advantage of the natural surroundings.
If you would like to stay with us for longer than 7 days we ask for a trial period of 1 week with an option to extend the stay if things are going well, if you, the volunteer and the community are happy. Please be assured we will always work with you to ensure your time at Hay Meadow Farm is fun and informative.
As a WWOOF host we have the appropriate employer’s liability insurance to accept volunteers/WWOOFers.
We are sometimes asked by some WWOOFers to write a letter of invitation or to allow your address to be used on their visa application form. WWOOF advises us strongly not to give such help to people who are unknown to us. If we do so, we are putting our self in a position of potential liability if the WWOOFer then overstays their visa, disappears, or otherwise breaks the law whilst visiting our country.
Other than these points all we ask is that you always keep in mind that we are a business that depends on visitors to the guest house. If you have any interaction with our customers we ask that you are polite and respectful at all times, we try to keep any noise to a minimum after 10pm near the main house and that you keep your room, and the farm as clean and tidy as possible.
If you would like to apply to volunteer with us please complete the form below and submit it to us. We never, ever, share your information with anyone. Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Hay Meadow Farm, we really hope that you will enjoy your time with us. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact our garden manager at;