At the end of January Phil and I travelled to the winter meeting of the Scythe Association (SABI). This year the meeting was hosted by Richard Brown in Norfolk. As well as attending to the business of the Scythe Association the group spent two enjoyable sessions mowing in the wetland nature reserve that Richard helps manage.
Called “The Saltings”, the approximately 8 hectare reserve is dominated by common reed. Areas of reed are cut annually to maintain a diversity of age and cover and therefore a diversity of habitat. While some areas are cut in rotation at intervals of several years, the area we helped cut is mown annually using scythes.
Before we went out to mow we all equipped our scythes with a simple willow or hazel cradle. The reed is very tall and the bow is needed to catch and carry the tall reed as it is cut and deposit it in a neat windrow to the left of the mower.
With a strong ditch type blade the stiff reed was very enjoyable to cut and the group soon cleared a sizeable area. It was great to have the opportunity to do a couple of good mowing sessions so early in the year, and with good company too.