Shire kids go Scything
What an amazing weekend the kids and staff from Shiremoor Adventure Playground have had in the Yorkshire Dales. They completed their John Muir Discovery Award in the most extraordinary way and discovered a really wild spot at Muck Hole near Robin Hoods Bay.
On a 17 acre site, in the middle of nowhere, live two amazing people- Ruth and Ickle. They live in a self built wooden hut without any facilities or services. They get their water from a spring, use a solar panel for limited electricity, grow fruit and vegetables that they eat and trade for other produce and goods, make their own furniture from trees felled by weather on the land, build fences from tree branches and have no power tools or modern day appliances.
The kids and volunteers spent a night ‘wild camping’ on this land and then spent a day working with the couple to understand their philosophy and environmental outlook. It was an amazing experience for them to help with a conservation project where they helped build dry stone walls, cleared gorse to encourage vegetables to grow, contributed to the clearing of a hazel coppice to provide firewood and wood for building with and generally tried to grasp how people can go without modern day technology including mobile phones, iPads and televisions.
The kids had time to ask the couple lots of questions and really begin to understand what life is like for them, why they have chosen this lifestyle and how they are able to manage very comfortably without modern day appliances.
They also had the opportunity to try and master the use of a scythe. The couple doesn’t own a lawn mower or strimmer and cut all their straw and grass with a scythe.
There was still time to explore the woodland and have fun on the Tarzan swing which dangled from a large oak tree, ride bear back on ‘Toby’ the large friendly Shire horse, forage and cook over a camp fire.
The kids and staff from Shiremoor hope to make regular visits to this site to help maintain and conserve the land and learn more about how to respect the natural environment.
Janet Orrock is a Nature Play Development Officer at Play England. For more information, visit www.playengland.org.uk/natureplay.