2019 date to be announced
The workshop runs from 10am – 5pm
(with an optional volunteer opportunity the following day) in Stanmer Park, Brighton.
Learn how to cut grass and weeds without the need of a noisy fossil fuel burning lawnmower or strimmer.
Much of the workshop will be focused on providing the participant hands-on experience. We will look at how scythes can be used in a variety of settings such as lawns, fields, meadows, allotments, brambles, etc. Lots of hands-on guidance from the tutor will enable you to leave as a competent scytheperson.
What will the Scything workshop cover?
The workshop will look into the history and theory of scything and how it can be applied to a variety of settings such as lawns, fields, meadows, allotments, brambles, etc. The course will be focused on providing the participant with hands-on experience. The number of course participants is limited, so you will benefit from individual guidance from the tutors.
Selecting and setting up the scythe and snath (handle) will be covered. You have the option of ordering your own scythe to be available on the day of the course; see below for details. Maintaining and using a variety of sharpening stones to hone (sharpen) the blade will be an important part of the course, and you will also be introduced to the art of ‘peening’ (profiling the blade).
Who is the Scything workshop for?
The workshop will be of interest to anyone with vegetation to cut, including gardeners, allotment holders and horticulturists. No prior knowledge of scything is needed. This course is open to anyone aged 16 or over.
Scything is a little less strenuous than one might expect, but please be aware that much of the work does involve twisting and moving of the back.
You must be willing to spend much of the duration of the course out of doors, whatever the weather. Most of the theoretical parts of the course will be held under cover.
Learning methods and outcomes
A theory session will begin the course, followed by the practicalities of setting up and preparing the scythe, before some practical demonstrations. You will also be provided with an information pack that will reinforce and cover the theory and techniques covered. The course will then move on to practical hands-on experience with guidance from the tutors. There will also be an option to further practice on the following day with tutors available for continued mentoring.
By the end of the workshop, participants will have the practical skills and techniques necessary to mow lawns, fields, meadows, allotments, brambles, etc. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions throughout the course.
Participants who complete the workshop will receive a certificate, which will be sent via email after the course.
What does the Scything workshop lead on to?
This short specialist workshop is not accredited but should provide participants with the skills needed to begin using a scythe in a home or professional setting.
An ‘improvers course’ which aims to cover a more in-depth look at peening, profiling, repairing and maintaining your blade, including more extensive practical work, will be available to those that have completed this introductory workshop and wish to further their knowledge and skills. This will be provided by Brighton Permaculture Trust in the near future. Peening courses are also available around the country. See scytheassociation.org/courses
Tuition will be provided by
Stephan Gehrels, an experienced scythesman who has been scything and teaching for many years. He is also passionate about permaculture and working with young people and has successfully taught many children to scythe; most of which have lived to tell the tale! Stephan runs school environmental projects in Brighton and has experience of managing orchards and growing plots using a scythe.
Stephan will be supported by Christine Wiltshire who has many years experience scything and supporting on our courses
Stanmer Park (near University of Sussex)
South East England
Get directions to Stanmer Park.
If you intend to book accommodation, please check availability before booking a place, as accommodation in Brighton can be hard to find, especially over the summer months.
Get details on local accommodation and Brighton Permaculture Trust supporters who can provide accommodation in their homes.
Do I need to buy a scythe?
We recommend you bring your own scythe, if you have one. You also have the option of buying your own through us in time for the day of the course. Alternatively Brighton Permaculture Trust has scythes that you can use on the day.
Buying a scythe for the workshop
Stephan has worked closely with renowned scythesman Simon Fairlie for many years and we use/recommend the equipment he supplies. Simon imports Austrian Schröckenfux scythes, made since 1540, these are hand-forged blades that are recognised around the world as being of the highest quality. A beginners set, which includes a snath (adjustable handle), a blade (of your choice under 65cm), sharpening stones and a peening jig costs £150. See www.thescytheshop.co.uk
If you buy your scythe in advance of the course you will benefit from the tutor’s expertise in setting it up on the day.
Stephan has a limited stock of kits available to collect on the day of the course (saving postage of around £22 for a complete set). These should be ordered in advance and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, as stock is limited. Please contact us to place your order and Stephan will be in touch.
In addition to the booklet provided, this book is recommended:
The Scythe Book by David Tresemer
Fees include tuition, refreshments, handouts and information sheets.
- £175 – Sponsored/organisation rate
- £175 – Individual income more than 25k/yr
- £140 – Individual income 18-25k/yr
- £105 – Individual income less than 18k/yr
- £35 – Individual, concessionary rate (check eligibility)
We endeavour to make our courses and events affordable to all. Unfortunately, we do not receive any external funding for most of these and rely on large amounts of voluntary input.
See the cancellations and refunds policy.
Booking the Scything workshop
Booking is essential, as most of our courses/events are fully booked weeks in advance. However, if places are still available, then bookings can be made until midday the day before the course/event. A place is not secured until we have received the requested payment.
Please do not book unless you are able to pay for your place.
Paying for your place
Please read this section carefully.
When you complete the booking process, you will receive a confirmation email from us. If you haven’t received that email within the next few hours, please contact us immediately, as this email contains vital information regarding your booking.
You can pay when you book your place using a credit/debit card or PayPal, or you can tick the ‘Pay later’ box (in the Event Fee section), which gives you the option to pay by BACS or send us a cheque after you have booked. If you choose to pay later, you will have 7 days to pay for your place. Bookings that remain unpaid on our system for longer than that will expire. You will receive notification of this expiration by email. If you then decide you want to come, you will need to contact us to see if there is a still a place available for you.
If you are booking within two weeks of the course, or the course is nearly full, you will not have the option to pay later. Instead, you will need to pay immediately at the point of booking using a credit card or PayPal.
Be certain that you understand ALL the information on this page, then:
"Friendly good spirited people, really enjoyed the day."
"Good balance of theory and practice. I feel confident about tackling the orchard in Peacehaven."
"Stephan was great - well planned out and good all round geezer. Kept an eye on everyone well too."
"Great to meet like minded jolly people. Loved the orchard."
"It gave me the opportunity to learn what I needed."
For further information or if you have problems with your registration, please contact us .