frequently asked questions

WWOOF UK holds a list of organic farms, gardens and smallholdings, all offering food and accommodation in exchange for practical help on their land.  WWOOF is an exchange – you volunteer your help in exchange for food, accommodation and an opportunity to learn about organic agriculture. As a WWOOFer, you can expect to help out for a reasonable number of hours - between 25 and 30 hours in a week is suggested. In order to volunteer on WWOOF host farms in the UK you must become a member of WWOOF UK.  Membership lasts for 1 year from the date you join.

The host farms are available for preview (minus contact details) here

Full contact details of the hosts are only available to members of WWOOF UK.  Once your WWOOF UK application has been processed you will be able to view full contact details of all hosts, either in the printed book (book membership) or the members' section of the website (online membership).

You can apply online or download and print an application form here  A member of our staff will then arrange a time to phone and go through the information with you.

Please remember, WWOOFers are volunteers and are therefore 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.

To join WWOOF UK click here. Read our terms and conditions of membership carefully then click through and select one of the green words:

  • Online - single £20
  • Online - joint £30

depending on the type of membership you want. You will then be guided through the rest of the process. You can pay by Paypal, credit or debit card. If you want to pay by card, follow the process as normal through to the payment screen at the end and look for further instructions towards the bottom left.

Some of our members don’t want to use the internet. We respect that and can provide Book Membership for them. Email us at info@wwoof.org.uk if you would like to buy a Book Membership.

  • Book - single £25
  • Book - joint £35


If you choose to join, but not use a credit or debit card, you can pay in the following ways:

Paying by Bank Cheque :

Do you have a bank account with a British Bank?

If YES you can send a cheque in Pounds Sterling made out to "WWOOF".

If NO, do NOT send us a cheque - cheques drawn on banks other than a British bank involve expensive bank charges and we cannot accept them. They will be returned to you and your membership will be delayed. We cannot accept cheques in Euros or Eurocheques.

Paying in Cash :

Our experience over the last five years is that sending cash carefully is not a problem. If a letter gets lost, it is because the postal service sometimes loses post, NOT because it contains cash. To send cash carefully, send only notes in pounds sterling - do not send coins or other currencies. Wrap the notes in aluminium foil - this helps prevent detection and theft. We can also accept an International Money Order, obtainable from some main Post Offices in some countries, but it must be made out in UK Pounds Sterling, not your own currency.

The address to use is PO Box 2207, Buckingham, MK18 9BW. Please do not send anything through the post that has to be signed for because our PO Box address will not accept it.

This is easy to do, although there is no link from the main page. Sign in to your account (this bit is very important - you must be signed in) then click here  This will take you to the normal sign-up page, but the fact you are logged in will mean the new membership will be associated with your personal account rather than creating a new one

Joint membership is usually for couples or good friends who want to WWOOF together. One of the partnership can WWOOF on their own, but you cannot both WWOOF at the same time in different places. You will only be supplied with one book / one set of membership logon details. The cost is £30.

***NB*** Joint membership does not apply to a lone parent travelling with a child/children.  In this case the parent need only buy single membership, as the children are their dependents and not WWOOF members.

Joint membership is a single membership made available at a reduced price to two people who wish to WWOOF at the same place and time. There is only one profile for this membership. Some of our joint members have used the 'About me' section to give details of both people and, as you are able to upload as many photos as you like, have put both of their photos on the profile.

Your five-digit membership / WWOOF ID number will be listed towards the top of either the 'receipt' or 'invoice' email you get when you join WWOOF UK. You can also find it by logging in  - it is listed on the left-hand side of the screen under "Membership". If you are a book member, you will see your ID number both on the letter that accompanies the book and highlighted on the envelope you receive your book in. You will need to quote this ID number when you first contact hosts, in order that they can check in advance if your membership number is valid. This computerised ID check has replaced the old system of giving WWOOFers membership cards because cards were often forgotten/lost. Also, hosts were previously unable to check a volunteer's membership status before their arrival.

Some sections of our website are secure pages to ensure that your credit card or PayPal details are not stolen. This means that people using older equipment may not be able to register, login, renew, pay, or buy a calendar or gift membership.

Most browsers update automatically but older equipment may not be able support the current version of a browser. If you can’t see some of the site you might need to try another browser, for instance we know that using Safari on older Apple Macs may not show our site but using Firefox will.

In Internet Explorer versions 8-10, you need to select Tools / Internet Options / Advanced, scroll down then tick ‘Use TLS 1.1’ and ‘Use TLS 1.2’ then click OK.

If you are using an older Android device this may not allow you to access the website. If your device has Android 4 or later you should be able to see our site using Google Chrome.

Unfortunately we can’t offer information about every situation but hope this is helpful, and we apologise for the inconvenience caused.

No, your membership subscription entitles you either to online membership or book membership. If you want to have both, you will need to send a short note explaining what you want, your contact details and a cheque for £10 to WWOOF UK main office (see our address on the Contact page).

Under the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 (DSR), consumers buying via the internet have the right to a 'cooling off'  period of seven working days following the purchase of an item. However, due to the nature of the WWOOF product, the consumer agrees to waive this cancellation right by paying the required WWOOF membership fee. In other words, once you have bought a WWOOF UK membership, we are not required to give you a refund if you change your mind. This is in line with UK Trading Standards.

Membership of WWOOF UK enables you to volunteer with hosts in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland only.

There are WWOOF national organisations in many other countries.  For example, joining WWOOF Portugal allows you to WWOOF in Portugal.  There is currently no international membership - you must join the national WWOOF organisation in each country where you want to WWOOF.  The membership fees are small and cover the cost of running each service. See wwoof.net

For countries where no national organisation exists, host lists are held by WWOOF Independents

If you join as an online member, you should be sent your membership information - including your username and five-digit membership number - within minutes, by email. Check your junk/spam folder if you do not receive the email, or see our 'help with your account' pages. If you join as a book member you should expect to receive your book within two or three weeks.

On 26th February 2015 changes were made to the UK Immigration Rules which clarify the type of activities all visitors to the UK are able to undertake. 

If  you are from outside the European Economic Area, please read the information here:

www.wwoof.org.uk/visas_and_immigration

We are often asked about the Tier 5 (Charity Workers) visa. We understand that this visa cannot be obtained for WWOOFing. Neither WWOOF UK nor its host farms can act as sponsor for Tier 5 visa applications.

WWOOF is not about paid working and WWOOF UK staff or hosts cannot help you get jobs, visas, work permits or letters of recommendation.  It is up to you to find out what you have to do in order to enter the UK for your visit / travels - see the section on immigration.

Many hosts are very happy to take foreign WWOOFers and help them with their English, but you still need a genuine enthusiasm for taking part in organic farming during your stay. This usually involves physical activity, being outside and getting your hands dirty. It may be that you would like to join an English course while you are volunteering in the UK. This is possible if you agree this with your host in advance. WWOOF should not be thought of as a simple way to gain a placement to complete a college course you have been studying in your own country.

WWOOF Independents is a separate organisation from WWOOF UK which lists all hosts in countries that do not have their own national organisation. They are also a membership organisation and you will find their website here.

WWOOF UK office cannot provide or sign any documentation to confirm you have stayed with a host for the required amount of time to complete your college course. If you are a student or intern and think you need this kind of written confirmation, ask your host before you arrive if they are willing to complete this paperwork for you at the end of your stay

All hosts should have insurance. Most take out Public Liability, but it is usually Employers' Liability which is needed. We encourage hosts to talk to their current providers about cover.

These providers cover some of our hosts:
Naturesave www.naturesave.co.uk 
NFU www.nfumutual.co.uk 
Cornish Mutual www.cornishmutual.co.uk 
John Lewis www.johnlewisfinance.com 

WWOOFers - you are responsible for your own safety. Check you have insurance that covers medical care including transportation home, accidents, and loss of property. You should also be covered against you injuring other people or losing or breaking other people's property. Make sure your insurer knows that you will be a volunteer on a farm.

Some of our WWOOFers have taken out insurance with the following providers:
OvEuropa www.oveuropa.com  
Volunteer Card www.volunteercard.com 
World Nomads www.worldnomads.com 

This is not possible; we do not have an open office policy. You must make an application for membership either online or by post.  WWOOF UK operates a membership application process rather than just selling books or information online.

Your annual membership entitles you to receive either the printed UK host book or a password for online membership.  Both lists include all WWOOF hosts in the UK with full contact details, although the online version is updated much more regularly (you will only receive one printed book per year). With this list you can make your own arrangements to WWOOF directly with hosts. If you live in the UK and are a book member, you will also receive four quarterly newsletters which are sent through the post. Each new edition of our newsletter is made available online and we send an electronic newsletter or update eight times a year to all our members. We will not automatically send any newsletters to book members if your postal address is outside the UK, due to the high cost of postage.  We will happily send them to you if you contact us to request them and pay a supplement in advance.

You must be at least 16 years old to join WWOOF UK and to WWOOF without the presence of a parent/guardian. If you are under 16 and accompanied by your parent/s or a guardian who has taken out a membership with us that is fine, because they are the WWOOF member and you are their dependent.

We are occasionally asked if two friends, one 17 and one 15, can volunteer together. Some hosts may be prepared to take you if the 17-year-old is a WWOOF UK member and the 15-year-old has their own insurance, but the key to this is you have to be clear and honest with the host about your age, your insurance situation, your parent/guardian approval and your legal relationship (guardian etc.) from the beginning. WWOOF UK cannot say more than that, because the legal implications will be different in each case. 
There is no upper age limit for members of WWOOF UK. Please check with your host that their insurance covers all ages.

It is up to you and the host to decide what suits you both. WWOOF stays can vary from one weekend to a long-term stay lasting months or even years.

We do not place you - you place yourself.  Once you have a WWOOF host list for the country you want to volunteer in, it is up to you to contact the farms.  How long they take to reply depends on them.  We suggest that you don’t try to arrange things ‘last minute’ because hosts are very busy people and may take a while to respond to your enquiry. Always include the word WWOOF in the subject heading of your emails.

We suggest allowing at least a month to make arrangements; if hosts are busy it can sometimes take a while for them to reply. If you want to volunteer over the summer - especially August - we advise you to make arrangements as far ahead as possible, as a lot of hosts fill up at this time. If you're emailing, make sure you include the word WWOOF in the subject heading and your five-digit membership number in the body of the text.

Although there are fewer hosts who need help at this time of year, there are still many who take WWOOFers in the colder months.

It is best to contact the host directly and ask them, as some hosts welcome children around and others do not. Once you join up online you can search specifically on this to filter out all the hosts who will not accept children by arrangement.
Please note anyone aged 16 or over is required to be a member of WWOOF UK.

Only with the host's permission.

WWOOF UK Host Eligibility and Organic Guidelines 

A WWOOF host should have the following as a key part of their lifestyle or organisational mission: 

  • the production of food or other products derived from the natural world
  • the management of land in an environmentally sustainable way
  • an activity supporting organic growing

 

WWOOF hosts should follow the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) organic principles as listed below, but need not be registered with a certificating organisation. 

  • The Principle of Health: organic agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal human and planet as one and indivisible
  • The Principle of Ecology: organic agriculture should be based on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them, emulate them and help sustain them
  • The Principle of Fairness: organic agriculture should build on relationships that ensure fairness with regard to the common environment and life opportunities
  • The Principle of Care: organic agriculture should be managed in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well-being of current and future generations and the environment

 

One of the main aims of WWOOF is to give people the opportunity to gain experience in organic methods, we expect these methods and principles to be predominant on WWOOF farms and holdings or for an active conversion programme to be in progress.

Yes. WWOOFers can comment on hosts and vice versa as long as their guest book / membership profile is enabled. Anyone can also feed back to WWOOF UK office using info@wwoof.org.uk

WWOOF UK takes all complaints seriously, because we want to keep our standards high and our exchanges fair. You can email us on complaints@wwoof.org.uk and we will follow up on your concerns, usually anonymously.

The key to a success is good communication, so we strongly encourage clear dialogue between the host and WWOOFer before and during the exchange. In extreme cases of a member being deeply upset or threatened, they have the right to end the exchange at any time, even if a longer stay has been previously agreed.

Please email Scarlett Penn on scarlett@wwoof.org.uk You will also find some useful resources on this website and the WWOOF Independents website here.

We love the wonderful LLOOF: your introduction to learning as a volunteer on an organic farm that was launched in May 2016. It’s a free downloadable pdf and is a wonderful resource. WWOOF UK was involved in the collaborative, Europe-wide process that gave birth to it and we are all very proud of the result. There’s also a bit more detail here.

There are a number of laws across the UK that specify age limits for different circumstances such as child protection, age of consent, age of criminal responsibility and age for work.

In the UK young people can legally seek paid work from the age of 16 without parental consent, volunteering is treated in the same way.

Since September 2015 it has been a requirement that individuals remain in education until they are 18. However, this doesn’t mean staying at school full-time; they might go to college or take up an apprenticeship or part-time training course. They will still have weekends and holiday times in which they can WWOOF. They may also be required to volunteer as part of their course.

WWOOF UK does not require someone aged 16/17 to provide parental consent; however individual hosts may ask you to complete an information sheet with emergency contacts etc before arrival.

WWOOF UK has contacted the DBS (the body that prevents unsuitable people working with vulnerable groups including children) who have confirmed that for the purposes of WWOOFing anyone aged over 16 is considered to be an adult.

A host can provide education, training or support to someone in this age group without a standard or enhanced DBS check.

If you are worried about a WWOOFer aged 16-18, it is particularly important that you talk to someone about it. Don’t ignore uneasiness or delay taking action.

It isn’t necessary to be absolutely certain of what has been seen or heard to call a local children’s social care team. Information is usually gathered from many sources, and your report could form one part of a bigger picture. That said, a small piece of information could be the missing piece needed, so it is very important.

The following agencies can be contacted for specialist advice or support, depending on the severity of the situation…

  • Call 999 if there is immediate risk of harm to the WWOOFer or host and his/her family
  • Call your County Council First Response Team/Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). They will listen and decide on the appropriate course of action.
  • Call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 (free service, lines open 24 hours a day). They will listen, offer advice and support and can take action if a young person is in danger. Concerns can be reported anonymously. For further information or to report a concern online visit: www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/report-abuse/

 

Please see our safeguarding page for further advice and guidance on this topic. You may also choose to contact WWOOF UK directly using info@wwoof.org.uk

WWOOFers and hosts are under no legal obligation to continue with a WWOOF exchange longer than they want or need to.  We would expect WWOOFers and hosts to make every effort to honour the arrangements they have made with each other, but unexpected things do sometimes happen whereby a WWOOF exchange needs to end earlier than agreed.  Please talk to each other as soon as possible to discuss the situation; everyone can then be prepared for a WWOOFer's early departure, or both of you can take the opportunity to make changes to arrangements so everyone is satisfied.  Please read the ethos and mission page of our website to remind yourself of what is expected of hosts and WWOOFers.  If you are worried about or unhappy with the arrangements within a WWOOF exchange, please contact us via complaints@wwoof.org.uk even if you have been able to discuss the problems with your host/WWOOFer or if the exchange has already ended - we will always aim to improve things, and help everyone to have better WWOOF exchanges in the future.