First Scythe Course of 2013

The 2013 mowing season truly got underway this weekend with our first Introductory Scythe Course of the year.

Eight enthusiastic participants gathered at the Trust, some local and some having travelled from North Wales and the Welsh/English borders. As usual we started of by getting everyone set up with a scythe, then went out into the short grass to practice the “Tai Chi” style scything action that we would use out in the field. Once everyone was happy with the basic action it was out to the field to try it for real.

Because of the late spring, the grass conditions were rather different from usual. The grass was fairly short, making mowing more challenging. No room for sloppy technique here; if the scythe was lifted off the ground, not much got cut! However, the grass was soft and lush and when approached properly cut beautifully. With some extra pointers from Philip and I all the participants were soon mowing well.

After a lunch break we went out again to try the scythes under different conditions. This time we were mowing rank grass alongside the edge of a grassy track and around trees, the sort of job that many people tell us they want to do with a scythe. The longer grass was easier to cut and there was a buzz of excitement amongst the participants as their earlier practice in the meadow bore fruit and the grass fell neatly and easily to their scythes. Within half an hour the edges of the tracks were neatly trimmed and it was time to retire to the barn to learn about the all important job of peening.

After an introduction to the various peening techniques by Philip, everyone had a go and soon the farm rang to the sound of hammer on metal. To close, we looked at which blade to choose and how to vary the scythe set up for different mowing conditions. There was an opportunity for people to buy any equipment they wanted, with several people taking advantage of the chance to take home a blade that had been prepared and edge peened by Philip.

It was a really enjoyable day with a group of people who it feels will really go on to use the scythe in their own projects. We have received some very positive feedback – thank you!

Our next Introductory course is on 23rd June – there are still some places left if you would like to join us. For more information and booking, see our courses page

Mowing the track edge. The cut grass will be left in place as an instant mulch around the trees.

Mowing the track edge. The cut grass will be left in place as an instant mulch around the trees.