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Leeds Urban Community Orchard!

Poldark’s Aidan Turner’s scything made headline news when he appeared shirtless wielding a scythe last summer. Now thanks to community orchard champions, Helping Britain Blossom, Leeds residents have had a chance to try out the traditional agricultural skill, which is undergoing a revival.

Helping Britain Blossom, which has helped plant seven community orchards across Leeds and is working with communities all over Leeds to create an “Orchard City”, has been running scything workshops as part of its training programme to keep trees and orchard volunteers healthy and happy. 

The courses demonstrate how to scythe and use the traditional skill to manage grasslands and meadows, especially in an orchard setting.  Scything is an environmentally friendly method of maintaining green spaces of all shapes and size, from small lawns to garden allotments, brambles and parkland.  Those attending learnt how to set up the scythe, efficient mowing techniques, and how to sharpen a scythe. 

Steve Tomlin, the leading scythe teacher in Britain, ran a course at West Park Fields, Northolme Crescent, Leeds LS16 and Jonathan Dent from St Nicks in York ran a course at Ouzlewell Orchard Ouzlewell Green, near Rothwell.

There’s one more opportunity to try your hand at scything later this month on 31st August at Luke’s Community Garden and Orchard, Stanks Lane North, Swarcliffe, LS14 5LH.   Attendees will have the opportunity to try scything between 10.00 and 12.00 after Luke Tilley, of the Killingbeck Community Project, has explained and demonstrated the basics of scything.

Alan Thornton, Helping Britain Blossom’s Leeds project manager said: “The ancient art of scything is making a comeback. Councils have started to use scythes and it’s becoming a social pastime with groups of people scything areas together. It’s a great alternative to the strimmer – quieter, cheaper, relaxing and provides a gentle upper body workout.  And importantly for a country with an unreliable weather, scythes can be used in wet weather.  Like the other orcharding skills we teach, scything can be easily picked up by people of all ages, which makes it ideal for community orchards where all are welcome.”

Open to anyone, however places are limited so those interested should contact Helping Britain Blossom on 07730 216943 or visit the following to book:

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