The Kingcombe Centre

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Scything Workshop

Sat 22 Jul 2017

Scything Nick Gray 4

Image: The Kingcombe Centre 

Learn the traditional skill of using a scythe on this practical course.

The scythe is making a comeback as a low tech, low carbon alternative, yet fun and effective activity.  The scythe has been used since Roman times for cutting vegetation at ground level.  A modern adjustable scythe is surprisingly effective for mowing small meadows, weeds such as nettles, grassy verges and even lawns.  After this course, you should be able to tackle your own vegetation situation, but with subsequent practice there is scope for refining your skills and increasing your pleasure.

Using lightweight Austrian scythes, you will learn about the three interacting factors that make for successful mowing: setting up the scythe for your own stature; keeping it sharp, and how to mow efficiently and effectively.  This workshop will include the following:  introduction to the course; history of the scythe; comparison of English and continental scythes; description and parts of a scythe; principles of movement; how to effectively hone the edge with a whetstone; adjustment of blade angles, according to mowing circumstances; different blades for different purposes; demonstration of peening; maintenance and repair of blades; vegetation management, where appropriate.  Throughout the training a number of safe procedures will be impressed on participants, as the blades are razor sharp.  Cut-resistant gloves will be provided.

Austrian scythes can be purchased on the training day.  The grips can then be set up correctly to fit you, and you can acquire one or more blades that are appropriate to your intended task.  Please contact Chris beforehand if you are intending to buy;

This course is suitable for those with no or little previous experience.

About the Leader:

Chris Riley is an experienced scythesman and scythe trainer.  From hay harvest to reed cutting, Chris has a wide-ranging expertise in the use of the scythe and has appeared as a scything extra in films.  He has won awards for 'quality' mowing in competitions and also enjoys exploring ways of making one's own 'snath' (the scythe handle) using a variety of materials.


£85 pp  -  includes morning tea, light lunch, afternoon tea and all tuition/activities.


Arrive at 9.45am for morning tea.  The course will start at 10am and finish at 4pm.

What to bring: 

Outdoor footwear, a sun hat and waterproof clothing just in case.

The course is based around lightweight Austrian scythes.  A set will provided to each participant, but if you have your own you can bring that.  Chris can also supply Austrian scythes.  If you have an English scythe you can bring it along for discussion purposes.

This workshop has been scheduled to coincide with our Haymaking Weekend Festival.  Extend your stay and join in on the Sunday.  Find out more on the website.

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Book online by clicking the BOOK button or call the Booking Office on 01300 320684.  
Please read our Terms and Conditions before booking
Download or view an Information Sheet by clicking on the Info button
This is a new event for 2017.

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Chris Riley

Scything c P Cranswick (4)