About the family behind écovallée

pic of us

A very rare, low-resolution shot of the whole family (from 2012).

Soon after Finn was born, Clare and Alex decided to sell the small two-bedroom, mid-terrace house in Brighton and move to France. To live self-sufficiently in yurts and create the world’s most beautiful family friendly yurt camp, with all the latest eco-friendly technology.

Easy going

On the first day of looking, they found the perfect place – 10.5 acres of woodland and meadow in a valley near the medieval market town of Lalinde. One year later, Alex gave up the London commute, Clare said goodbye to her part-time teaching job, art studio and allotment, and the whole family moved to the Dordogne.

You can read what happened next in the archives of the blog and in Part One of Alex’s free-to-download book: The yurt camp, the English mafia and the French resistance.

Press and TV

When écovallée finally opened in July 2010, it was immediately listed by The Observer as one of Europe’s top 10 luxury campsites.

The following year, the family had their 15 minutes of fame on ITV’s prime-time series, Little England. More importantly for écovallée, a second family yurt was added, along with the solar shower with off-grid grey-water treatment.

Constantly evolving

In the years that followed, Alex and Clare worked tirelessly to create the yurt camp they always wanted – the yurt camp they would want to – and could afford to – stay in. Facilities now include two family yurts with a shared kitchen overlooking the valley, one small yurt with its own kitchen, a Play Yurt for children, a gorgeous solar shower and compost toilet, woodland play area and more.

Over time, écovallée has become less of a self-sufficiency project and more of low-impact yurt camp from which to explore the many delights of the Dordogne.

The adventure continues

These days, Clare exhibits writes books, works as a seamstress, and runs craft classes for children. Alex creates websites, plays in wedding and party band “SouthWest“, works as an ethical copywriter, piano teacher and is involved in the local transition town movement.

The children (now 10 and 15) are fully bilingual and involved in a range of activities. They are also occasional consultants on child-focused projects, testers of toys and play equipment, and even help with construction.

(Scroll over images for captions.)