Clem Rutter at the Costecalde straw build

Joining in

There is an opportunity for anyone to join our friends and help raise the walls and the roof, then make it weather tight with lime plaster. This is timed to happen in summer 2014. Before that we are busy laying the foundations using old car tyres and gravel if you would like to help with this work at Costecalde or at our B&B in Congenies (see our website  then please contact us through any of the websites:-  Host ref number: 562412777192

or  Host ID: 15965

or  woofers (coming soon)

We are looking for people with a mature outlook on life and a love of nature who would like to live the outdoor life and help us with the vast array of tasks that will crop up as we build, garden and manage our wood. You need to be strong, fit and like hard work. 

We can cope with vegetarians, but sorry, not vegans. 

The land site is a smoking free zone, so no smokers please.(straw + fag ends = fire hazard!)


We are a British couple who have been living in France for the last 10 years. We run a B&B and a large organic garden. Caroline also teaches English to students doing degrees in tourism. Francis is retired and Caroline will be in a couple of years. In the next 3 years we want to build a straw bale house and set up a permiculture garden and orchard. To do this we have bought land in the Aveyron. We are bird & animal lovers and have a rescue dog and 10 stray cats. Francis runs days bird watching in the local area.
We divide our time between the house and garden here and our new plots of land in the Aveyron.


Aveyron, an area of high plateaux, rolling hills and deep river gorges, we are on the top edge of the plateau above the river Tarn. This is rural countryside, there are no large towns , just small picturesque villages, woods and farm land.
Gard, this streaches from the beaches of the Med to the Cevennes national park and includes historic sites from the Romans and before. Semi rural with vine yards and olive groves; the real south of France.

The view

The map,2.7593&spn=0.01,0.01&t=k&q=

GPS 44.0722, 2.7593

Types of work

In return for a bed and meals we ask that you work 5 hours a day 5 days in 7. That you stay a minimum of 2 weeks and no more than 3 months. All to be agreed by email before you arrive.

Animal care,
Help in the house,
But mainly help with our Eco project,
General Maintenance,
Cooking / shopping,
Woodland management.


We would welcome volunteers to help in either location. At the B&B there are gardening jobs of all types, building maintenance and decoration, a qualified electrician would be very useful. Plus animal care and some cooking, on evenings when Caroline is working late. Plus out of season spring cleaning type jobs. There is also an old barn to be emptied and tools and materials sorted out ready to take then necessary things up to the Aveyron site.

In the Aveyron the jobs include helping to manage the woodland, putting up bird nesting boxes, collecting and cutting firewood, clearing areas ready for regrowth. At the building site there will be work setting the foundations for the straw bale build and later building in straw. Later again all the other jobs needed to build a house. Around this there is also the establishment of the organic garden and orchard to be undertaken. All under supervision in a continuing learning process for us all.

Languages spoken

English, Welsh, French, German and a bit of Spanish


At the B&B you will get a room, with its own shower room, to share with another volunteer, in the house. In the Aveyron it might be a tent in the summer or a bunk in a hut in colder weather. Shower & toilet facilities here are eco, ie a composting toilet and a solar heated shower, that we all share. Water has to be brought on site at the moment and is therefore limited. All this depending on the number of people around at the time.

What else ...

In both locations there is a lot to see and do locally when we are not working and there are bikes that can be borrowed to go visiting the surrounding areas. At the B&B we have Roman ruins and beautiful garrigue landscapes. In the Aveyron there is fishing and all water sports within 7 km. Both areas have wonderful walking, biking and wildlife to see. Both are in small French villages, but the two areas are strikingly different. We are not near towns with a lot of night life and there is no public transport near us in the Aveyron. So we are looking for people who love the countryside and all it offers.