We are Linda and Russell, an English couple who came to France looking to be self-sufficient, and to enjoy more time with our young family in warm sunshine, enjoying good food.
Arrived from the UK in 2003 with four children …
House hunting with 3 under 5's could be difficult. Yet, despite this, we managed to find our dream house ... although it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea!
Most thought we were crazy, but then we can cope with being different!
Renovated an ancient monastery …
So we moved into our delapidated old monastery. No mains water, but we had a well. No central heating, but we had open fireplaces. Some rooms had no doors or windows. We stayed in the most habitable rooms with a camping stove and started with a ridiculously low budget for renovations!
Whilst renovating we both ran our own businesses, so from time to time we’d put our earnings towards something life-changing like water, windows and doors. But our luxuries were the wonderful ponies, Jump and Poli, the 1953 Massey Ferguson, and then the pool, which was so welcome in the hot Bordeaux summers.
Passionately about the environment, love animals and health conscious …
Over the years we’ve had all sorts of animals, including injured or underweight hedgehogs. As we are definitely animal lovers, several of us became vegetarian. Eventually this became vegan, and as one of these is the cook in the family, plant based food has been the main option for some years now.
Our time in France has been wonderful although not always easy. Probably because of the hard times, we have learned to appreciate the simple things in life, make do and mend, recycle and upcycle. That ethos has stayed with us ever since.
The children are all grown up now, so it was time to think about our next adventure ...
The Moulin (mill) de La Cueille, on the banks of the River Clain.
The Watermill …
On our first visit we fell in love with this watermill and its idyllic setting. We hope our guests will to.
Our way of life is built around natural methods and materials.
A haven for wildlife, a retreat for our guests, an opportunity to get back to real life.
The clean river water of the Clain flows through wild woodland at La Cueille, the air is fresh, and the wonder of nature is abundant.
So what do we offer our guests?
Healthy eating : to sample or share a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, offering home made and delicious plant based breakfasts.
Picnics and evening meals are available on request, with low sugar cakes and desserts.
Most produce is local and organic, and some ingredients are to be found in the hedgerows, like wild garlic and nettles.
Healthy environment : comfortable beds, organic linen and quiet places to contemplate and inspire. Enjoy the views, catch sight of the heron or the dashing kingfisher.
Wifi can be made available in bedrooms if chosen, but we recommend that our guests disconnect from the constant radio waves and connect to nature instead.
Healthy activities : there are ample footpaths to explore on foot or mountain bike. Pony trekking and kayaking can be organised for those who’d like to see the countryside from a different angle.
A variety of yoga sessions are available for beginners through to those who'd like to improve. Meditation and mindfulness sessions can also be booked, along with Reiki, Indian Head Massage and Reflexology.
So what are our plans for the future?
Self sufficiency : - the vegetable garden has been started but plans had to be changed when the river level rose and flooded the vegetable patch!
However nettles, hazelnuts, wild garlic and asparagus are abundant. Local walnut and chesnut trees keep us busy in autumn.
A real bonus is the spring water from La Cueille, tested A-A+.
Off-grid : we still yearn for off-grid living. The island will be a great place to start, so watch this space.
Workshops : the workshop opposite the house is nearly ready. We hope that guests will share some woodwork and metalwork projects, recycling or upcycling.
Another outbuilding will make a wonderful craft workshop, with its beautiful weeping willow and full view of the river. Be inspired or meditate while drawing, painting, sewing or knitting. Until then all this will be arranged in the large comfortable dining room.
Does this sound like you?
Keep in touch to follow our progress
The hospitality made us feel at home immediately.
What we enjoyed most was listening to all the birds, overlooking the river, the flowers, both in the garden and during the walks, and the talks with Rusell while he was serving the delicious breakfast.
Thea et Chris, Chatellerault Avril 2023
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you open all year round?
Mostly, but we will close for quiet months in winter. All details can be seen on the bookings calendar.
Are dogs allowed at the Mill ?
Generally the answer is no, because we have free range chickens, as well as our own cats and dogs. However, if you dog is well behaved, please call, or email, to discuss.
What are check in and check out times ?
Check-in between 4.00 and 7.00pm.
Check out up til 10.30 am.
These times can be extended if notified in advance for a small extra charge. See our terms and conditions for full details.
Can you adapt the dishes to allow for allergies and intolerances ?
Yes. However please give us some notice so that this can be planned and organised.