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Scythers Cut a Swathe

Posted: Monday 25th April 2016 by OutdoorLearning

Champion scyther Mark Allery showed a group of keen enthusiasts the traditional skills needed to maintain and use a scythe at the Rosamund Gardens in Guildford.

Two groups of ‘students’ signed up for this amazing adult learning course organised by Surrey Wildlife Trust in partnership with community group Transition Guildford.

It was great to see novice scythers learn so quickly how to use Austrian scythes to cut the wild flower meadow at the Gardens.

We learnt that before the invention of mowing and harvesting machinery the scythe was a tool for cutting hay and grain. It was also used for keeping tidy private and public estates, parks and gardens. Today the Austrians continue to make fine and effective scythes.

After finding out how to set up a scythe we were soon having a go with a modern version of an old tool that can be used effectively in our gardens as well as meadows. In an age dominated by petroleum and electrical machinery we found that scythes are efficient, quiet and good exercise.

Everyone had an enjoyable, if tiring, time on the courses in June and September. The weather was ideal on both days and we cut lots of long grass and wild flowers, helping Transition Guildford to look after this relaxing community meadow. Most people went home clutching a new scythe!

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