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Lammas Hay Scything

Photo by Roger and Renate Rössing, 1953. Deutsche Fotothek of the Saxon State Library / State and University Library Dresden. From Wikimedia Commons.

Photo by Roger and Renate Rössing, 1953. Deutsche Fotothek of the Saxon State Library / State and University Library Dresden. From Wikimedia Commons.

If anyone out there is wondering if any hayfield in England is still cleared by scything, as it was in medieval times, the answer is yes.

You’ve missed the annual scything on Hackney Marshes in east London for this summer, but there’s always next year, as Community Haystacks’ clearing of the Walthamstow Marshes in east London (“a celebration of an ancient piece of common land, one of the last expanses of semi- natural marshland left in London) has become an annual event.

As their website explains, “This community haymaking event brings together local residents, conservationists, historians, activists and artists who join together to recreate the pre-mechanical hay harvest and revive traditions of scything and commoning. Now in its third year, the community hay harvest takes place over two days on the date of the ancient feast of Lammas.”

Click here to see photos and an article here on this year’s harvest.

The official site for Community Haystacks explains how the event got started and what activities are involved. It also houses other articles of interest.

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