The resurgence of interest in scything in Britain is to a large extent the result of the importation and promotion of Austrian made scythes (see below). Austrian scythes are lighter, nimbler and more elegantly formed than traditional English scythes. Once the efficiency and pleasure associated with using an Austrian blade has been experienced few people choose to mow regularly with an English scythe (although many scythers also own and use one for interest or tradition).
Good equipment is only half of the story: skills in both mowing and sharpening are also essential. Anyone contemplating mowing with a scythe for the first time is strongly advised to take advantage of the many training opportunities now available.
If you wish to purchase or try out Austrian scythes and related equipment, have a look at the links below:
The Scythe Shop is run by Simon Fairlie from Monkton Wyld in Dorset offering a wide selection of blades and equipment by mail order.
There are now a number of scythe distributors around the country who sell a range of Schröckenfux Austrian Scythes. The following people may have what you want, and may be able to offer you some tuition either on courses or else individually by appointment.
- Cumbria: Steve Tomlin http://scytherspace.wordpress.com/complete-beginners-scythe-kit/
- South Wales: Phil Batten http://scythecymru.co.uk/scythes-for-sale/
- N Wales: Sion Jinkinson sion_jinkinson(at)hotmail.com
- Wiltshire: Chris Riley chris(at)pratensis.net
- Devon: Alastair Inglis al.inglis(at)yahoo.co.uk
- Somerset: Andi Rickard firstname.lastname@example.org
- East Sussex: Beth Tilston. bethtilston(at)googlemail.com
- West Sussex & East Hants: Mark Allery http://woodlandantics.wordpress.com
- East Anglia: Richard Brown through Emorsgate Seeds
- Cambridge: Jim McVittie dalefield(at)ntlworld.com
English scythes of various quality and condition can be found on ebay for those who like to experiment with traditional tools.
Teachers can download an example risk assessment and method statement here. Please note these are not definitive and you’ll need to adapt them for your situation, but they are a start. These were written by Beth Tilston, so any errors are hers, not SABI’s.