Scything for mental health

Keith setting up an Austrian scythe

Being outdoors, physical activity, group work and seeing the results of your efforts are all hugely beneficial to your mental health and scything with others fits the bill perfectly. So I’m incredibly pleased to have been invited to teach a learn to scythe course for the staff at the Wells Road Centre in Nottingham. The centre offers inpatient services to adult men and women with mental disorder and part of the facility is Spinney Meadow, a wonderful outdoor space with woodland, orchards, meadow, polytunnel, lifestock and wildlife.

Scythe students in Nottingham

I spent two days with Kev, Rob & Keith who manage the space and help patients experience working with nature in a safe, calm environment. Considering it’s location by a busy road in a large city, it’s a testament to their efforts that I found myself forgetting all that while I was there and became immersed in the meadow.

Sharpening an Austrian scythe Kev mowing the meadow with his scythe

Over the two days, I taught the guys how to scythe both to mow the meadow grass and also how to deal with rougher grasses and weeds around the site. There was also an emphasis on how to teach and pass on the new skills to the patients they work with. They were fantastic students as well as lovely company to spend time with. All three of them were very competent with tools and quickly got the hang of scything. The real surprise came on the second day, more of that in the next post…

Rob cutting tall weeds with the scythe Keith tackles the tall weeds with his Austrian scythe

 

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