This year's scything courses events - pls fwd

Gerrard Winstanley news at
Thu Mar 27 02:04:38 GMT 2008

Scythe Courses
Simon Fairlie is giving the following beginners courses
April 26 Hackney City Farm / 
3 May S Petherton, Somerset chapter7 at uk
10 May S Petherton chapter7 at uk
Both the above at S Petherton  are nearly full.
18 May Foulsham. Norfolk philip.jones at (possibly also 17  
May in Norfolk)
26 May (possibly) S Petherton chapter7 at uk
August 9/10 Land Matters: near Totnes, Devon Charlotte at Landmatters  
01803-712718 or via

Dear Mowers
Here is the first scythe event mail out, which is pasted in below,  
and also available in  a pdf attachment. There is also a flier for  
the SW festival.
There will be an update around  the beginning of June. If you want to  
add something to it, or if you want to unsubscribe, please e-mail me  
at chapter7 at
Hope to see you this summer.

2008 Scythe Calendar


1 Events
Somerset, Wester Ross in Scotland, Lancashire, Oxford, Cambs, Yorks,  
2 Courses
3 Products
4. Two Snippets

PLEASE EMAIL chapter7 at;

1 Events

West Country Scythe Festival
Saturday 14   Scythers' informal  workshop. A chance for people to  
meet each other and swap notes, eat Jyoti's local organic grub, and  
drink beer and cider to the accompaniment of our  78 juke box.  We  
particularly want  to organize some team mowing for display on  
Sunday.  Discussions, demonstrations and technical workshops  on  
grassland maintenance, haymaking, peening, cradles etc.
  £30 including three meals and ticket for Sunday. This does nt  
include camping, which is £10 per night.  (Free for people who can be  
called upon for two or three hours help. Anyone who wants to come a  
day or two before to help set up is most welcome).
The gras will not be fertilized this year, as it was last, so it  
should be better.
Sunday 15, Scythe Festival, Competition  and Green Fair
— competition, tuition stalls, music, ceilidh  kids  events etc.
Thorney Lakes,  Muchelney, Near Langport, Somerset .
£5 all day, including evening band
For more information see  
or phone 01460 249204
Stallholders welcome. Please book in advance.

Scottish Scythe Gathering
28 June 2008
The Gairloch Gathering, an established event at Gairloch, Wester Ross  
will be hosting what must be the first Scottish scything competition  
for many a year The organizers say there are still some accomplished  
old-timers around.  I will be giving scything tuition for beginners  
in the morning; the competition will be in the afternoon. There are  
proportionally more scythe users in the North of Scotland than  
anywhere else I reckon and  this is a great opportunity for people in  
the Highlands who are interested in scything to meet up and exchange  
Little Sands Farm, Gairloch, Wester Ross

The Second Lancashire Scything and Rural Crafts Festival,
26-27 July Turn Village near Ramsbottom
Competition, tuition, rural crafts exhibitions, local foods  and  
other events on a community owned meadow.
Saturday 26th (scything and meadow restoration training day)
Sunday 27th July (public workshops scything demonstrations and  
associated rural crafts exhibitions, and local foods festival). Free.  
Organized by  Littoral Arts
42 Lodge Mill Lane,Turn Village, Nr Ramsbottom, Lancashire BL0 0RW
Tel/Fax:  ++44 (0) 1706 827 961
E-mail:  <littoral at>
Website:  <>

Participate in a Wheat Harvest Near Oxford in July
   John Letts writes:
I've planted a lot of unusual (organic) cereals (wheat, rye, barley &  
oats) at Sandy Lane Farm in Tiddington, near Thame, in Oxfordshire.  
Most of it will be ready to harvest in the first or second week of  
July, depending on the weather. It's not difficult to cut cereals  
with a scythe, but unless it's done carefully with a bow or 'cradle'  
scything leaves the straw in a mess that is hard to tie into bundles.  
Steve Tomlin is currently designing a 'cradle' that should be able to  
be easily attached to an Austrian-style scythe so that the straw  
falls into neat(er) bundles. Practice makes perfect, and here's your  
chance !  I'm also having a cradle built for my bent snathe N  
American-style scythe.  I'll have some extra hands on board for tying  
and stooking. A brewer friend has offered to donate a couple of kegs  
of summer ale (made from my own spelt wheat), and I'll lay on some  
food (perhaps a pig roast of some sort). I can probably sort out some  
accommodation (either at my place in Oxford, or in a warm barn on the  
farm) for the night.
Anyone interested in participating please contact John at  
john at (or john.letts at, but this will  
change soon).

Wimpole, Cambs
Sunday 22 June
Simon Damant, currently the UK champion is hosting a scythe event and  
competition in front of the hall at the National Trust's Wimpole  
Estate, 8 miles south of Cambridge. Anybody wishing to take part can  
email me at the National trust email  
simon.damant at for entry and it will be free  
(bring your own beer barrel too if you like!). The morning could be  
for practice etc and even a gang mowing in front of the hall for a  
good photo shot then the competition for the novices and then the  
more experienced. I can sort out some camping for Saturday night and  
there is a pub next to the park which means nobody has to drive and  
drink. It is on for the 22nd of June although if there is some  
interest then we can have a bash about on Saturday too. Its rather a  
more suck and see really.
I have not done a page for the Wimpole web site  but  
it is on the 'What's on' page All I need to know is who wishes to  
come and whether novice or not but it will not be a problem if you  
turn up on the spur of the moment.
For more information see /, or email  
Simon.Damant at

Yorkshire Dales National Park
Yorkshire Dales are hosting events throughout the summer under the  
auspices of The Hay Time Festival. Members of the public are invited  
to host related events.
  For more information see 
hay_time_festival karen.griffiths at

International events are normally posted up here
but the 2008 dates are not up there yet. If you are going abroad you  
could try contacting the e-mails for the 2007 events to see what  
might be happening.

2. Scythe Courses
Simon Fairlie is giving the following beginners courses
April 26 Hackney City Farm / 
3 May S Petherton, Somerset chapter7 at uk
10 May S Petherton chapter7 at uk
Both the above at S Petherton  are nearly full.
18 May Foulsham. Norfolk philip.jones at (possibly also 17  
May in Norfolk)
26 May (possibly) S Petherton chapter7 at uk
August 9/10 Land Matters: near Totnes, Devon Charlotte at Landmatters  
01803-712718 or via

Ray Lister does courses in Nottinghamshire;l Raymond Lister, 22 Hind  
Street, Retford, Notts DN22 7EN; 01777 710091; raylister at

3. The Scythe Shop

New Products
40 cm blades
I have somewhat rashly ordered a specially manufactured  consignment  
of very short 40 cm Austrian blades, to see whether they are any use  
for gardeners, growers  and allotmenteers . They are designed to get  
in between plants easily, eg
(a) as a quick response  when weeds have got out of control and  
threaten to dwarf plants. I did about a quarter of an acre of brussel  
sprouts with one in about 2 hours.
(b) mowing undersown green manure
(c) mowing grass between daffodil plants.
Sickles and Machetes
I also have small pilot consignments of Schroeckenfux sickles and  
machetes. These will be on view at the Scythe Festival.

The Scythe Shop may be semi-closed
in the first two weeks of July as I hope to go to Romania to see how  
the real folk do it. That's if I can get my own hay done. Somebody  
will stand in for me at the shop,  but not full time.  If anybody  
knows any place I might be able to  stay in the Marmures or similar  
haymaking area, I'd be grateful for a contact.

4. Two Snippets for the Unrushed

" I have 1.5 acres of ancient haymeadow, and came on a scything  
course last year. I had at that point finally given up on a Shanks  
Pony, a type of Allen scythe, supposed to be the perfect machine for  
the job, and was desperately hoping the scythe was going to be the  
way forward. For the last twelve months I've been pursuing my claim  
against the supplier of the Shanks Pony, which has finally been  
resolved in my favour. But part of that was that the supplier must  
repair the machine (a totally disintegrated drive, the latest in a  
long line of breakdowns in the effort to cope with the dense herbage)  
and then demonstrate that the thing could in fact do the job this hay- 
making season. It failed again of course and the judge ruled  
accordingly. But that meant I had to reserve the meadow for him. I  
did in fact cut about a quarter of it with the scythe, and  
throroughly enjoyed it, but the satisfaction of doing the whole job  
will have to wait for another year."
  HD, 2007

The Hayloft

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Through all the pleasant meadow-side
            The grass grew shoulder-high,
Till the shining scythes went far and wide
            And cut it down to dry.

Those green and sweetly smelling crops
            They led the wagons home;
And they piled them here in mountain tops
            For mountaineers to roam.

Here is Mount Clear, Mount Rusty-Nail,
            Mount Eagle and Mount High;--
The mice that in these mountains dwell,
            No happier are than I!

Oh, what a joy to clamber there,
            Oh, what a place for play,
With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air,
            The happy hills of hay!

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