Our Nature Ninjas scything at St Maurice’s Pond. c. Katie Brown/Cumbernauld Living Landscape

Over the last few weeks at St Maurice’s Pond you might have spotted some mysterious figures in high vis vests, armed with the kind of tool you’d expect to see in the hands of the grim reaper. But fear not, they’re just our resident Nature Ninjas. Scythes are often associated with death but we are using them to create new life in the form of wildflower meadows.

A scythe is a traditional tool used for harvesting crops or mowing grass. Wildflowers grow best in low nutrient soil. We leave the cuttings for a few days to allow any seeds to drop but then we remove them before they can rot down and add nitrogen and other nutrients back to the soil. By cutting back dominant grasses this autumn, the wildflowers will thrive in the summer.

A scythe – bringing life, not death, to our meadows. c Katie Brown/Cumbernauld Living Landscape

Now you might ask, why scythe? Why not just use a lawnmower and spare yourselves the sore arms? Well scything has many benefits. One, it’s emissions free, the only fuel scythes need is sheer determination. Two, there’s no noise pollution meaning visitors to the site can enjoy their walk in peace. Three, any animals hiding in the grass have time to get out of the way.

And four, using a lawnmower just isn’t as enjoyable. There’s something very mindful about the process of scything, the sound of a freshly sharpened blade slicing through the grass, the satisfaction of raking up. It makes you feel one with the land and in touch with our agricultural ancestors. There’s nothing quite like scything on a sunny autumn day. While we scythed we could hear birds singing; ravens, jays, goldfinches and more. You wouldn’t get that with a big noisy lawnmower. Sometimes the old ways really are the best.





Katie Brown