Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

Accommodation

There are three on-site accommodation options for our residential courses.

(These same options also apply for volunteers and interns coming to the quinta, though they have free access to all facilities on-site. More details are available on the volunteering page. Please note all references to registration forms are for course participants only.)

We DON’T offer accommodation for visitors, either to the quinta or to the area.

Please bring your own bedding, and be aware it’s never very warm here in the mountains at night even in the hottest summers. (The quinta has a few heavy Portuguese wool blankets available, if necessary, for unexpectedly cold nights, but please bring a decent sleeping bag.)

Caravan

A miraculous survivor of the 2017 wildfires and then a burnt tree falling on it, our 4-berth caravan is now fully functional as accommodation again. It sleeps up to 3 adults (the 4th berth is realistically only child-sized) but is more comfortable for a couple or single person. It has solar electricity (both European and UK plug sockets), a water supply and a woodburning stove.

The caravan can be rented (for courses only) at a total cost of €100/week. Bookings are taken on a simple first come, first served basis. If sharing, please nominate one person in your group to pay the deposit and balance and make sure you note who this is and who you’re going to be sharing with in the space provided in the registration form.

4-berth caravan accommodation at Quinta do Vale
4-berth caravan accommodation at Quinta do Vale
4-berth caravan accommodation at Quinta do Vale


Camper van pitches

We have 2 camper van pitches. One has water and solar electricity for those who can make use of a hook-up. The other is unserviced.

Both pitches are alongside our access track.

Pitches will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no charge for the pitches. If you’re registering on a course as a couple sharing a camper van, please make sure you note this in the space provided on the registration form.

 

Camping

There are level camping spots all around the quinta with a selection of single pitches and more communal camping on two of the quinta’s presently unused terraces. Please bring your own tent, mattress and bedding.

There is no charge for the camping pitches. We only ask that if you’re camping on a course as a couple or group you note this in the space provided on the registration form (this allows us to plan for the number of pitches we’ll need to accommodate everyone).

If you don’t regularly camp and are buying an inflatable mattress specifically for the course, beware cheap ones. Deflating mattresses are by far and away the most common complaint of people camping here. And not being able to get a good night’s sleep can ruin your entire experience.

 

What to bring

  • comfortable clothes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
  • clothes for both temperature extremes – daytime can be insanely hot, evening/nighttime surprisingly cool
  • rain jacket (yes it can happen, even in July)
  • sturdy shoes suitable for climbing steep, rocky and thorny hillsides
  • a swimsuit for the nearby river beach
  • tent and mattress (if camping) and sleeping bag
  • flashlight/torch/head-torch
  • sun hat
  • towel
  • ecological/biodegradable body care products
  • note book and pens/pencils
  • musical instruments!

Facilities

Toilets and bathrooms are dotted around the quinta. All grey and black water is processed onsite in our various composting systems. We have 3 flush toilets, 2 dry bucket toilets (Joe Jenkins’ ‘humanure’ system) and 3 solar-heated showers. To encourage efficient resource use we encourage you to wash out your clothes in the shower as you go, but if necessary we have a twin-tub washing machine available for use.

There is abundant off grid electricity for phone/tablet/laptop charging, but please do NOT bring power-hungry appliances like hairdryers. Power stations for charging are available in the communal building classroom.

There’s free wifi on-site and the signal covers around 2/3rds of the quinta.

Phone signal is reasonable for all networks which can make use of Altice MEO’s infrastructure. Vodafone doesn’t get signal here, but you can connect from the village above us. There is also free wifi in the village below us, along with a river beach and outdoor café.

Acroyoga at Benfeita river beach

Course participants have the use of refrigeration/kitchen facilities (outside of meal preparation times) plus the social/hang-out spaces in and around the communal building and any evening activities (movies, talks, etc) we might put on.

There are many beautiful spots to meditate quietly on the quinta but what we lack here is any sizeable expanse of level ground for group yoga or other practices. However the nearby river beach – a favourite venue for pre-breakfast swims – has suitable, if public, space.

Morning swim at Benfeita river beach

Water supply

The quinta has its own water supply from the spring-fed stream which runs year-round but can occasionally get very low in dry weather. If we have drought conditions at the time of the courses, we may ask you to ration your use of water.

The water is drinkable and most people have no problem with it. However, it’s not from a monitored and tested source so if you have a sensitive digestive system, a chronic digestive complaint, or are just accustomed to drinking chemically-treated water, we advise you to boil it before drinking.

Catering

Three vegetarian meals a day are provided, mostly organic, with mid-morning and afternoon snack breaks. The Permaculture Design Certificate courses and some others are fully-catered.

For the Post-PDC Practical courses and for volunteering and internships outside of course times, we will share the cooking. This is often one of the best loved social aspects of both courses and working days as people love to share their favourite dishes or national cuisine. For shared cooking situations we have more flexibility and can include meat if we have enough omnivores present.

Sharing the cooking at Quinta do Vale

There will be fresh, organic, nutrient-dense fruit and vegetables in season from the quinta, local community gardens and other local growers, dried staples from organic wholefood producers mainly in Portugal and Spain, eggs from the quinta’s hens, honey from our bees or from other local hives, raw goat and sheep milk cheeses from local artesanal producers, and much of the remainder from local farmers markets. We use supermarkets as little as possible.

Vegan diets can be catered for and if we have vegans on the courses then the food is mostly vegan by default with dairy and eggs on the side, but the proliferation of more restrictive diets in recent years have made it much more challenging to cater for groups with a diversity of limitations. If you have dietary restrictions, we can take account of them but we do ask you to bring your own supplementary requirements to make sure you’re getting what you need. Please make your food preferences and any allergies/intolerances clear at the time of registering. There is space provided for this on the registration form.

 

 

Food at Quinta do Vale

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