WWOOF UK is a membership charity, teaching people about organic growing and low-impact lifestyles through hands-on experience in the UK. WWOOF UK was founded by Sue Coppard in 1971 – she is still active with us today.
WWOOF UK holds a list of organic farms, gardens and smallholdings, all offering food and accommodation in exchange for practical help on their land. These hosts range from a low impact woodland settlement to a 600 hectare mixed holding with on-site farm shop, cafe and education centre. Hosts do not expect you to know a lot about farming when you arrive, but they do expect you to be willing to learn and able to fit in with their lifestyle.
All of our hosts must sign a declaration stating that they are farming using ecologically sound methods. Some are also certified organic or biodynamic by national bodies. Certification is an expensive process and only really necessary for those growers who wish to sell their produce to the general public with the ‘organic’ label. We do not discriminate between those who are farming organically for sale and those who are farming ecologically for self-sufficiency.
The list of hosts is available by joining WWOOF UK for a membership fee (£20 single membership, £30 joint). Once you have the list, it is up to you to contact hosts directly to arrange your stay. Your host should discuss what kinds of activities you will be asked to take part in, what accommodation is on offer and also the length of your stay.
Volunteers do not pay to stay with hosts and hosts do not pay volunteers for their help (generally 25-30 hours a week). WWOOFers are volunteers and therefore are more free to come and go than an employee. For this reason, hosts should not depend on them as an alternative to paid, skilled labour. For more details about how it all works, see our FAQs page.
Please remember that for insurance reasons, you have to be over 18 to WWOOF in the UK, unless you are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
You’ll find Woodthyme listed as Idston Woods on WWOOF UK.
Caroline Lorenz August 2015
Our one and a half weeks at Idston Woods seemingly passed at the blink of an eye, and that is mostly due to Ellen being a picture-book hostess: hard-working, a great cook (key word: lemon curd…) and always with an interesting story at hand. The remoteness and simplicity of the place did their part in letting us forget our everyday worries. The work was challenging, but fun: looking after the horses, collecting and splitting firewood, helping to load and unload the kiln, uprooting ragwort, blackberry picking and others. In short: We felt like we won the lottery of hosts with Ellen and are determined to come back!
Jo Fleming-Mulford August 2015
I had a simply wonderful time at Idston woods staying with Ellen and the two other wwoofers who were there at the same time as me (Jasmina & Caroline). We were all made to feel so welcome and appreciated. The work we did was incredibly varied and always interesting in one form or another, and our input and opinion was always valued. I learnt so much off of Ellen personally, I found her to be an incredibly inspiring (and funny) woman, and I would highly recommend anybody who is considering going to visit her to do so the setting was beautiful, and the care and attention that Ellen puts into her work and her project was a sight to beyhold. Thanx Ellen, it was a truly fantastic experience for me. Joe x
Sarah Davenport July 2015
We had an amazing time staying at Idston woods with Ellen, she made us feel right at home and we learnt loads. Originally we arranged to stay for 10 days but ended up staying almost three weeks and then came back for a few days before we had to get our ferry! The work was varied, from collecting wood, burning charcoal, chopping logs, fencing, digging veg beds, helping with the horses, putting up the yurt and more. Ellen is a great host and always ensured we were well fed and looked after (sorry but we’ve eaten all the lemon curd!) The facilities at the woods are basic but luxurious at the same time.. you’ll see what we mean when you arrive There is always plently of hot water from the stove for baths (much needed after charcoal burning!), comfy beds and a fire inside the log store & yurt for chilly nights. The work collecting wood from the forest can be hard going but Ellen always made sure that the next day the work was lighter to give us a rest. We can’t recommend visiting Ellen at Idston woods enough, you must go! We arrived strangers and left good friends, thanks again for having us Ellen, we will speak to you soon Sarah & Edvin xxxxx