World of Water Volunteering (at HoBB Field Centre)

World of Water
Field Centre
The HoBB Project House
Shropshire / Welsh Border
Nr. Knighton, UK

Volunteers all Year: Spring Summer Fall Winter
Area (ha): 4 acres ( 1.6 hectares)
Accomodation: Single/Twin / Double/ Camping/ Bods.

Helpx Host ID: 3244
Country: Wales/ England
BorderlandReviews Received: (17) (see below)
Setting up a new compost tea making area and the test hydroponic/ aquaponic demonstrations.
Adding to the exhibition display.
Repairing a leaking felt roof
Clipping back overgrowths
Renovating Pizza Oven
Adding to Outside Kudo Cooking Station***** We are always keen to share skills, knowledge, understanding, ideas, experience, good food, great scenery, laughter and thoughts with fellow optimistic, happy forward-thinkers – is that YOU?

World of Water at The ‘HoBB Project House’

Friends of the environmental and educational charity develop and progress projects here whilst wonderfully helpful HelpX and Wwoof members arrive from all over the World to provide much needed voluntary help and support. Thank you all.(*See references and project examples on list below)

Accommodation is in a traditional 17C Welsh Long Farmhouse with inglenook / open fires / set on a hillside overlooking a small village. It’s peaceful; surrounded by fields, trees, sheep and clean air. Great area for walking, riding, thinking, singing, planning dreams, camping, meditation, music and cycling.

Please contact us via our contact page initially, sending us links to your blogs if you like so we can read through your published thoughts and get to know your aims and interests. After exchanging contact details, it’s useful to have a chat with you over the ‘phone to say hello and discuss what sort of projects we’ll be tackling when you are here (See FAQ’s below for examples)

It helps to know what you would like to gain from your time with us as it is a help exchange and we are here to help each other. So when you email, please let us know the main reasons you want to visit the HoBB and support World of Water’s aims.

An ongoing big THANK YOU to all friends and volunteers who continue to support our charity aims.

Help Exchange Host 2007 – 2016
Wwoof Host 2005 – 2014
CouchSurfing Host 2008 – 2016

* There is Wifi connection so you can keep in touch with family/friends so long as you bring your own comp/ Mb/ ipod etc
* Bring a comfortable pair of working gloves with you and sturdy waterproof footwear.

* This is a non smoking place.

* When emailing us, please include a short description of yourself, your interests and skills. We always give preference to those sending their background info. Thank you.



The most often asked question from new volunteers is ” What sort of projects will I be tackling?”

Each day, each week, we start, continue and complete projects. A few projects are ongoing like our aquaponics project.
Whilst there is no set timetable of projects here, one helper who was with us last Summer wrote out a list she tackled and her list is fairly typical of the sort of activities:

* Reviewed designs for the new Hydroponics / Aquaponics Research Unit
* Constructed a small retaining stone wall around the base of the Robin Hill Bird Table and fixed the table slats so they stop drooping in wet weather.
* Helped with some of the charity’s paperwork one morning when it was too wet outside.
* Designed and built a Kitchen Composting box
* Planted out last year plant cuttings including the first silver birch on the Central Path between Hay Bod and Yule Fir
* Landscaped around the Oak Spring
* Brainstormed a plan for a app of community paths following a nature and sculpt trail up a nearby castle mound.
* Started the build of an outdoor pizza and bread oven
* Replaced hinges on letter box by Holly Gate
* Took 200 cuttings of box plant and potted them up.
* Walked up onto the Beacon and Knucklas Castle Mound
* Mixed sand/cement and did mortaring for water tank and grey water system.
* Cleared out dead undergrowth alongside the Wood Bod on the Geas Path
* Weaved living willow trees to enlarge the Nest on the Circle and Ygdrasil Path.
* Pruned hedgeline along the Kelpie Path at Ylem
* Moved pile of weeds and made compost tea.
* Re-made some wood steps alongside spring.
* Planted vegetable seeds and potatoes.
* Cooked bread outside, washed up etc.
* Lit first paper fire in the blacksmith forge to dry out fire bricks.
* Helped to design a Japanese Kudo cooking range
* Raked out leaves from brook and cleared banks
* Cleared large stones and constructed a new compacted earth tyre gabion retaining wall.
* Helped with the weekly shopping.
* Painted the tree carvings in the Bod Gallery
* Dug holes for new fence posts
* Created model of a Traditional Radnorshire Elf house to be used in storytelling courses.
* Visited W.H. Smith book museum in Newtown and unexpectedly stumbled across a Monet in Newtown modern art gallery.
* Clipped topiary
* Circled the floodlit Ludlow castle
* Cut grass and tidied paths.
* Watered vegetables.
* Explored Ludlow Town festival
* Carved hypertuffa (Concrete and compost mix)
* Cleared fields of nettles and thistles for drying. Made some nettle tea.
* Made a brushwood gabion wildlife habitat and a birdboxe.
* Dug out a soil bank and drainage ditch
* Planted shrubs
* Sieved earth
* Wrote and uploaded a story online
* Designed a garden water feature
* Sorted out and labelled the resource bod contents
* Planted new willow arch.

(We hope this list is of general interest to all)

There’s an ‘energy’ here you will enjoy that’s invigorating and hopefully enlightening.

For more PHOTOS, visit our Gallery

reviews (17)
Helper: Claire B Profile: click here
From: United Kingdom Date: July 7, 2014
I’ve just come back from a super 2 weeks at the HoBB.
Grant, Helen and Thruppence are brilliant experienced hosts and they make you feel welcome and relaxed right from the start.Grant enthusiastically bounds around the HoBB like Richard O’Brian in the Crystal Maze – and the constructions are equally as creative & intriguing.

I was given a long list of options for jobs and was always invited to choose what I liked the sound of. In the end I spent most of my time building a miniature stone pixie castle tower for a cheese smoker, which I enjoyed very much. Grant and Helen involve you in all that is going on, and genuinely want you to find the time there fun and enriching. They are very kind people.

It is a beautiful corner of Wales, with the 360° panorama of nearby Knucklas Castle particularly breathtaking.

Helen is an amazing cook! Meal times were always a pleasure and regularly developed into fascinating existential discussions. The kitchen is extremely ordered and labelled so if you do end up cooking it’s easy to find whatever you need.

I am sure I will see you again Grant and Helen and 3p! Thanks for such a lovely stay!

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Helper: Lou Lou Xin ting Profile: click here
From: China Date: May 11, 2014
I knew Helen and Grant when i searched host at helpx website, as I didnt have long time in wales,so i havent stay with them,but i could still feel they are so nice couple ,they give me lot advises about helpx,and also they are so sweat and helpful, Its a pity i didnt be helper for u ,but i do love wales,wish could back there again .all the best 🙂

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Helper: Lorcan Cook Profile: click here
From: Ireland Date: April 23, 2014
Bring them fudge and other items of deliciousness! Don’t worry if you can’t though because they will still give you the warmest of welcomes and share with you their wisdom, experience, stories, cosy rooms, scrumptious food and much more :DThe HoBB has so much to offer those willing to learn and try new things. Here are some of the things I got involved in:
– Learning blacksmithing skills
– Renovating a forge
– Cooking food
– A storytelling meeting
– A singing meeting in a yurt
– A few vibrant folk music nights in local pubs
– Creating a gate latch
– Chainsaw maintenence
– Playing with their fantasic dog
– Concrete mixing
– Concrete carving
– Wood carving
– Exploring the beautiful countryside and more

As with most things, the more you bring to the HoBB, the more you’ll get out of it: An open mind, bags of enthusiasm, wild ideas, smiles and waterproof boots are all fantastic things to pack for your time there.

To sum up, I had a fantastic time with Grand, Helen and 3p (their dog) and I highly recommend them as hosts. I hope that the winds will blow me back their way in the future to learn and laugh with them again.
All the very best to them and you, future friend of the HoBB 😀

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Helper: Matteo Ceddia Profile: click here
From: Italy Date: March 29, 2014
Great hospitality and friendship here! Grant + Helen, you are artists of living! Lateral thinking, inspiring ideas and good vibes :)I learnt working with concrete, carving concrete. For the first time I watched live a forge working and I hit the metal too! Lots of new words for my English vocabulary. I liked so much music jam sessions and storytelling meeting. Helen cooking skills, Grant storytelling, huge laughing… wow! And lots of Little People.. ops, it was a secret 😉

Thank you to 3P, special creature, a good friend from the Land of White Dogs 🙂

I feel very good, sincerely THANK YOU!

Have a nice Welsh nature and projects!
See you in the “virtual” world 😉
Soon pictures from Ireland and Norway!!
Ciao 🙂

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Helper: Simone Gliori Profile: click here
From: Italy Date: August 13, 2013
…be hosted and help people in their projects is always a honor, sometimes it’ is a privilege.This place can teach you a new “sense of time”.

Defenitely reccommended!

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Helper: Regina Merk Profile: click here
From: Germany Date: October 23, 2012
Dies ist ein Platz voller Überraschungen und Herausforderungen. Nachdem ich keine bestimmtem Vorstellungen hatte, was ich gerne machen wollte und meinte ich helfe bei allem was gerade ansteht, meinte Grant, gut, dann baust du eine Tür für das Pflanzenhaus.
Eine Tür bauen?! Ich war mir da gar nicht sicher ob ich das Könnte, aber Grant war sich sicher.
Als erstes gab es dann eine “Türenführung” über das Grundstück wobei mir die zwei Grundbautechnicken der Türbaukunst erklärt wurden, ich immer skeptisch hinterhergedackelt. Zum Abschluß hat Grant in ein paar Sekunden eine gut aussehende Beispieltür aufs Papier gekritelt. Dann wurde es ernst, ich sollte meine Tür zeichnen – na toll, keine Ahnung, nehmen wir doch gleich das Beispiel. Ich erkläre Grant ich kann nicht auf Knopfdruck kreativ sein. Antwort kann nicht gibt es nicht, ich sollte mich nur darauf konzentrien, welches Merkmal ich der Tür am liebsten geben würde.
Und tata! in weniger als einer Sekunde fällt mir Löwenkopftürklopfer ein. Ich weiß, das ist nicht gerade eine 0,8,15 Zutat und um so überrachter bin ich als Grant sagt, wir haben einen. Jetzt ist die Blokade weg und mir Fällt ein, daß ich unbedingt Fenster in darin haben will. Und siehe da, es gibt 3 ganz perfekt passende als Überbleibsel der Baustelle der Nachbarn. Jetzt ist der Grundstein gelegt und wie machen uns ans Werk. Da wird gemessen, gesägt, gebohrt und geschraubt. Als Handwerkslaie alleine hätte ich meine Idee schwer verwirklichen können, aber Grant ist Profi und arbeitet an meiner Seite mit. Schritt für Schritt nimmt die Tür gestalt an und mir fallen ganz von selbt, weitere Bauelemente ein. Es fühlt sich toll an, im KrativenFluß zu sein. Ich bin stolz wie Oskar auf die Türe und freue mich, daß sich Grant und Helen und villeicht auch weitere besucher daran erfreuen können.
Also wenn Ihr mal im Hobb seit, laßt euch die “berühmte” Tür zeigen.

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Helper: Claire and R. Derek Profile: click here
From: United States Date: October 10, 2012
Hello fellow travelers!We just finished our trip here and for those headed that way, you are in for a real special experience. As our first HelpX (a Wwoof alternative) experience, we really were fortunate to land with such great hosts. There were so many nights that we stayed up late talking contemplating solutions to the world, inventing new ones, and learning
loads and loads of just about anything we could think of.

We were at the HoBB which is located in a border town of Wales and England. It’s called the Home of Book Bod, or The HoBB. Let me just say, I’ve learned more here in one day about sustainable methodology,than an entire quarter in a sustainable planning class. It’s a beautiful application of using nature and recycling to create aesthetically pleasing, yet practical homes.

A little about Grant and Helen

Well I already mentioned how wonderful they are, but Grant is a fellow from London. He has an accent that you could mistake him as being someone famous from the BBC. He is quite brilliant, kind, and a character! Really interesting guy. You could converse with him for hours and hours, and we do.

Helen is such a sweet heart. Immediately upon arrival she gave us and in depth history and tour of the local area, stopping by a market too pick up some vegan alternative food. She makes this place feel like a home away from home with her giving nature, fun conversation, and
delicious cooking!

Some topics we talked about:

Sustainability versus perpetual growth. United States and the origins
or consumerism in the world. The importance of keeping hope alive.
Universal consciousness. Dogs.

Some places/events they have take us to:

A shop for vegan items. Dinner at a friends. A story telling group in a pub. A live music group, also in a pub. A tour of Knighton.

Some jobs we’ve undertook:

Transplanting a vine. Planting about 1000 daffodil bulbs. Starting to
build a stone and concrete wall. Fitting floorboards. Loading the
dishwasher. Building a concrete foundation

Talk about inspiration for a sustainable and self-sufficient
lifestyle…we’ve learned so much in 8 days here. And at the end of the day, we go to sleep with our tummies stuffed with the latest delicious meal and our minds stuffed with the latest stimulating discussion.
We had such a great time that we would like to keep in touch. It has been such a wonderful experience with such great hosts that we are planning on hosting one day as well.

Thank you Grant and Helen and 3Pence, we wish you all the best.

With love,
Clairek (Claire and Derek the Horizontalist)

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Helper: David Volpe Profile: click here
From: Spain Date: August 2, 2012
Acabo de pasar un mes entero en the hobb y la experiencia ha sido muy bonita y gratificante. Grant tiene un gran sentido del humor, mucha energía y sabiduría y paciencia para enseñarte a trabajar con herramientas las cuales yo nunca había usado en mi vida. Mientras trabajas, no te olvides de compartir conversaciones con él de cualquier asunto, naturaleza, construcción, comida, ….Le gusta compartir conocimientos, seguir aprendiendo y oir anécdotas o chistes de tu país de origen.
Por otra parte Helen siempre estará preocupándose por cocinar comidas de tu agrado y que tu estadía sea cómoda.
Es un lugar relajante, donde yo, que siempre estoy mirando la hora, ni me he acordado de usar el reloj en todo este tiempo.
Ah, y si te gustan los perros, Threepence es un encanto. Una preciosa Bóxer blanca que siempre quiere jugar.
Sólo puedo decir: ¡¡¡muchas gracias!!!!

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Helper: Andy Melhuish Profile: click here
From: United Kingdom Date: March 29, 2012
Can’t believe I’m only just now leaving a review! And I promised you a whole blog post too…Had a luscious time here with Grant and Helen and 3P. Grant and I took on the roof of the latest Bod and had it watertight before the snow and rain. It was a tremendously edifying and satisfying to be part of the project, which so many others have and will continue to contribute to. Excellent food courtesy of Helen, and many many pleasant conversations!

See you again, I hope!

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Helper: Dom Busher Profile: click here
From: United Kingdom Date: September 12, 2011
Go here, open your mind, take a deep breath and enjoy! Beautiful minds and souls. It’s high time I visit again. Loving kindness, thinking and feeling are all encouraged! Creativity is key.

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Helper: Regina Merk Profile: click here
From: Germany Date: August 10, 2011
helen and grant are perfect hosts. they are charming, funny, welcoming, smart, intersting and creativ people.
the accomandation is like in a bed and breakfirst, helen takes well care of your stomache and grant takes care that your work is not boring. you can choose in what you are interested to do and if you have no experience grant is very good at explainations.
and they have the frendliest and happiest dog i ever met.
you feel more as a friend or guest then a helpexchanger.
there is a lot to laugh and a lot to talk aboutvery insperativ and highly recommanded, go for it and take the cahnge to learn on every level.
thank you very much for two to short weeks in your place, regina

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Helper: Titania Veda Profile: click here
From: Indonesia Date: August 1, 2010
For a person that needed both physical and mental stimulation, I found both here. The place is simply a paradise tucked behind the Welsh hills with spectacular views. But more than that are Grant and Helen who made me laugh from dawn to dusk every day. Within the first few days I was helping Grant finish up a rustic doggie gate that was started by Sergio, another helpxer, and drawing up a blueprint of the dog kennel. For this city girl, every day was a different experience and I learnt something new every single time, from how to rasp and chisel wood to what type of saws to use and how to sharpen the blades of a chainsaw. I’ve never had a more patient and knowledgeable teacher than Grant. Helen’s cooking was creme de la creme, made from scratch, including her famous elderflower drinks. And the watercress for her salads were picked fresh from the garden. Both Grant and Helen were the warmest people I had ever met, and so full of life and wisdom. All in all, I left with little pockets of wisdom that I could carry with me. And I couldn’t have asked for more than that.

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Helper: Sergio Morales Camino Profile: click here
From: Spain Date: June 22, 2010
I stayed here for two weeks in the middle of June. I´m proud of being the first Spanish Helper to visit this magical place. If you are looking for inspiration, this should be definitely one of your best choices.
Grant will make you think in a different way -I´m afraid I´m not going to find somebody capable to turn a breakfast conversation into such an inspiring experience!-. Although I´m neither an experienced builder nor carpenter, Grant taught me the basics of these fine arts with infinite patience, giving me a taste of a lot of the tasks: mixing concrete, building a stone wall, a brick wall, setting a slab, building a gate, fixing some woods on the roof of one of the sheds…But he has his own method, using recycled materials in an artistic and nature friendly approach. Sorry for bending so many nails!
You will have the chance to develope your own ideas. You will be encouraged to develope your own ideas!
In many ways, they have given me tools to use in my personal life.
Helen will take care of you and you will enjoy some of the most delicious dishes you have ever tried. She is an outstanding cook. Thanks for the pink rice, the lamb and the hare!!! And thank you for driving me to Beacon, where it blows the freshest air in the English-Welsh Border.
Both of them helped me a lot to improve my poor English. My notebook has now memorable pages of expressions and new vocabulary.
The place is simply beautiful, the accomodation is fantastic and the garden around the house is full of life. (I promise I saw both the plants and the insects doing really weird things! Will it be the magic of the HoBB?)
Dioch, thank you very much, muchas gracias Grant and Helen!
I will be back to see the Kudo and the Forge and the Flying Bridge finished!

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Helper: Alastair Brayne Profile: click here
From: United Kingdom Date: September 8, 2009
I cannot say enough nice things about this place. Helen and Grant are both superb folk and will give of their energy in a way that is so rare to find these days.The place is beautiful, the food is great, the chats brilliant and the madness infectious. I’ll be going back. No question. And I’ll be taking this place forward in my heart too. A gem.

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Helper: Emily Goss Profile: click here
From: Australia Date: May 22, 2009
“It is never too late to say ‘Thank You'” -GrantLovingly I thank Grant and Helen for the time I shared with them late last year. The experience nourished and inspired me. I could not have felt more welcome.

I feel I have gained two incredible mentors and hope to take what I learnt home to Australia and create a space with similar energy and authenticity.

Hope all is great at The Hobb…look forward to an update!

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Helper: Kiersten Broderick Profile: click here
From: Australia Date: March 16, 2008
I stayed with Grant and Helen for two weeks in February and was not only given great food and accommodation, but also learnt new skills, learnt about history and life in the area and was shown some very interesting places in both Wales and England.I greatly enjoyed the conversations around the table and in front of the fire at night. This experience was not only a great way to see a part of the UK but also challenged my ideas and thinking.

I hope to go back and visit Grant and Helen sometime.

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Helper: Russ sherry Profile: click here
From: United Kingdom Date: December 4, 2007
I stayed recently with Helen and Grant and enjoyed my week with them.Grant and I worked together on a water tank, constructing a small sheep pen and sieving soil and stones.

Cooking was done by Helen and all our meals were very tasty and nutritious — exceptional in fact!

Both Grant and Helen are very interesting people and we had many great conversations over the dinner table. The whole place is bubbling over with original thinking and ideas.

I shall be contacting them both again soon to arrange a return visit.

I can recommend this placement wholeheartedly.

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