Scything Comes to Corsham!
On May 3rd 2019 Transcoco’s new scything group tackled the wildflower grassland at Springfield Community Campus, despite cold blustery winds. This training session, led by UK Women’s Champion Andi Rickard, was funded by Transcoco and the trainees themselves. Andi, from the Somerset Scythe School (www.somersetscytheschool.com), was very impressed with the group who quickly transformed from beginners to competent scythers.
They were also taught the art of peening – a ‘peasant engineering’ technique of precisely hammering the blade edge prior to fine honing with a whetstone. This is generally carried out seated on an upturned bucket using a log as a workbench! A teaching member of the Scythe Association of Britain & Ireland (www.scytheassociation.org), Andi is an inspirational trainer who soon had everyone hooked! The group plans to obtain their own equipment and continue managing Springfield Campus wildflower grassland and the Community Orchard.
Scything is a quiet traditional skill that is non-polluting, using muscles rather than fossil fuels, and well suited to community members working as a team. It provides good core strengthening exercise and improves balance. Scything also benefits biodiversity by being gentler on insects and small creatures and allowing precise mowing around certain plants. It is gentler on humans too and a lot of fun – though it was too cold for the bare-chested Poldark style!