Dec 11 Scything – A great alternative to the two stroke petrol engine! By Rich

Earlier this year, SWOG went down to the Westonbirt show to meet members in that part of the country and promote the group and small woodland ownership in general.  Afterwards we were kindly hosted by Nigel and Elaine from Lapwing wood and their neighbour Mike.

Mike introduced us to the fine art of scything.  Both woodlands are very young  and hence still have a lush herb and grass layer.  To keep this down to a manageable level, Mike prefers the gentle ‘swish’ of his scythe to the noisy polluting two stroke brush cutter.  Having tried it, I can understand why! It is a very gentle exercise, yet relaxing and calming at the same time.

I thought it would be a good idea to orgainise a SWOG workshop and open it up to members, but I recently found out that sycthing is recieving a resurgence of interest.

Andy Marczewski from Yaxham in Norfolk sent me the following message:

“There is quite a revival of scything in the UK.  We seem to have made progress on grass cutting techniques, but use for cereals etc is less “polished” – the skills really have almost disappeared.

There are two events to recommend – Here in the East the Wimpole event (June 23rd-24th) is very friendly and enjoyable and organised by the Wimpole forester Simon Damant the current national champion. There is the National event in Somerset the week before –“The Green Fair and Scything c Championships”  once again very friendly and plenty to see and do.  Courses are run at these events, but there are plenty of tutors around the country.”

More details can be found on the Sycthe Association’s website.

Andy was also keen to promote  the Bodgers Ball in May (this year in Devon)– it is run by The Association of Polelathe Turners and Greenwood Workers and is a good place to see many traditional woodland/greenwood skills

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