Taking Climate Action in our Community: Learning to Scythe in Swansea

The Scythe is an ancient tool with a wooden handle and curved blade designed for mowing grass and other tough field vegetation. Once you have acquired the technique, a scythe is a joy to use and is an important tool for people and planet.

Climate and Community is an environmental educational charity working in Bishopston. In 2019 volunteers began clearing bramble and bracken to make space to plant trees, a community willow bed and pollard existing trees to create a more biodiverse parkland habitat on a local green space called Mansel Green. We need to regularly scythe this area to keep ‘knocking back’ the invasive bracken and mow grassland species at the end of the season to encourage new wildflower growth the following year. We follow the recommendations of Plant life a national charity that manages meadows and campaigns for better management of grassland meadows and roadside verges.

In August the charity organised a one day scything workshop tutored by Mathew Collinson (Swiss Valley Meadows). To teach a group of volunteers the scything technique, how to mow a field and maintain the blade. This was kindly paid for by Lyndon Jones the local County Councillor. Lyndon said ‘I am happy to encourage the learning of these important skills and their contribution to improving our wilder green spaces.

We need more volunteers to join a team to scythe the green. Nick Bingham who lives in the village has taken this job on but needs some help! Nick says ‘Over the 2 years I have enjoyed the scything and to see how effective it has been at bringing back the beautiful wildflowers and grassland species. It has been really satisfying work’.

Scything versus Strimming?

The Austrian Scythe is an efficient cutting tool when used properly has:  no vibration, no emissions and no noise pollution. It is a very sociable tool to use. Not only can it mow a field but clear in smaller garden areas, around trees, and hard to reach spaces needing more care. Something we should be looking at more seriously with regards to Climate action in our communities. Other greenspace groups in neighbouring districts have organised scythe workshops this summer: Incredible Edibles Carmarthenshire, Kenfig nature reserve (Plantlife) and Dyffryn Tywi Project indicating a growing trend in picking up on this amazing tool.

The charity owns 6 Austrian scythes, which can be used by volunteers.

Those interested in learning more and helping as volunteers,   please contact us

Author: julesdharma

Work as a volunteer for Climate and Community,

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