From conservation projects to helping out down on the farm...
Sheep shearing in the South Downs
They say ‘a change is as good as a rest’ and very often it’s true. If you want to do something different for your holiday, think about a working holiday. You can try your hand at farming, dry stone walling, or even goat-herding in some of England’s remote and unspoilt areas.
Lots of charities and organisations run short conservation projects for which they need volunteers. Here are some ideas for longer holidays, where you can really make a difference.
British Trust of Conservation Volunteers (BTCV)
The British Trust of Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) has a range of holidays from wetland conservation to habitat management to dry stone walling around the UK. There’s a strong focus on team-work and the communal experience as you’ll join between six and 12 other people to complete a conservation project. Most of the holidays are for volunteers aged 18 and over. You will need to cover your own travel arrangements to the destination, but accommodation and food are all provided. Holiday costs vary depending on length of stay. More about BTCV.
The National Trust
The National Trust offer a variety of working holidays around England. You could find yourself surveying moorland plants, dry stone walling or doing some organic gardening in beautiful countryside or at the coast. The holidays range from two to seven days and are open to everyone aged 16 and over. Some holidays are suitable for families with younger children (aged eight to 16) and provide a great opportunity to work together as a family and help the environment. National Trust Working Holidays are cheap and include hostel style accommodation and food. No experience is necessary as you’ll be shown what to do, but you must be team-spirited; enjoy being outside and not mind getting your hands dirty. More about National Trust working holidays.
WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)
WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a charity that lists organic farms that need volunteers to help out in exchange for food and lodgings. The farms range in size from small holdings to larger establishments with on-site shops, cafes and education centres. All the farms use ecologically sound methods. You need to be 18 or older, although some farms get allow younger people if accompanied by adults. You don’t need any prior experience of farming, but must be be willing to learn and fit in with the owners’ lifestyle. You have to become a member to access the list of host farms in the UK and contact the hosts directly to discuss what the work would be, the accommodation on offer and length of stay etc. You don’t have to pay for the accommodation or food. More about WWOOF.
Farm Stay UK
For working holidays on farms, Farm Stay UK is a great resource for a range of different holiday options from a single night to a week-long break throughout the seasons.