When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Transylvanian tradition alive at the Forest of Bowland
CONSERVATIONISTS from the Forest of Bowland have forged links with farmers in Transylvania to ensure traditional tools and techniques for hay making don’t disappear.
Sarah Robinson, Bowland hay time project officer, recently spent a week living and working with the Sarig family in the Gyimes Valley region of the country, along with 10 delegates from other parts of the UK.
As well as exchanging information and sharing hay time experiences, the group received hands-on training and gained experience in all aspects of hay making, from start (scything) to finish (putting the hay in the barns to store as winter forage).
Thanks to the extra manpower that the delegates provided, the Sarig family were able to cut a previously abandoned meadow, bringing it back into traditional management for future years.
Sarah said: “It was very physically demanding work, but really rewarding — particularly when we helped to save meadows that the family had not had the manpower to tackle previously. It was fascinating to experience a completely different culture and to see how the techniques used here have evolved very differently to those used back home due to cultural, economic and climatic differences.
“I think our use of machinery in the UK surprised our hosts who still use a combination of man and horsepower to get the job done.
“I was quite jealous to discover that the warmer climate in Transylvania means that our counterparts can scythe in the morning, enjoy an al fresco lunch break, and then gather the dry crop in the afternoon, rather than hoping and praying for several dry days like we do here in northern England.”
To ensure that the delegates and other international hay meadow experts can continue to exchange information in the future, a web-based network will soon be created to act as a forum for sharing expertise.
The visit was part of the ‘Sowing the Seeds’ project which is run by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and funded through the Yorkshire Dales LEADER programme.