A local project that may well be of interest:
Community Haystacks invites everyone with an interest in the history and current use of the marshes to take part, with the aim to reintroduce annual communal harvest events to the former Lammas Land. The Walthamstow Marshes are one of the last expanses of semi-natural marshland left in London, and were formerly used widely for grazing and haymaking. Since 1985 the land has been designated a Site of Special Specific Interest (SSSI) and is now managed by the Lee Valley Regional Park.
Traditionally the Marshes were considered “common land” and Lee Valley Regional Park now conserves the Marshes using an ancient system of management, where hay is cut on Lammas Day (1 August). The event takes place on the Lammas Meadows behind the Lee Valley Ice Rink on Lea Bridge Road. For event bookings and further information visit: visitleevalley.org.uk/haystacks
Scything Lessons Friday and Saturday, 1-2 August, 1.30pm & 4.30pm
Scything expert Clive Leeke will run two-hour workshops (priced at £5 to cover use of tools and refreshments), which will include practical experience of different scything methods as well as information about the numerous advantages of traditional scything.
Book your tickets now. Alternatively, if you’re a dab-hand at sycthing, why not just come along!
Friday and Saturday, 1-2 August, 7pm
Free talks on the Marshes and the chance to discuss broader issues related to the history, management and current use of the site. Invited speakers include artist and architect Céline Condorelli, food grower and conservationist Fiona Fiona McAllister (Growing Communities), artist Alana Jelinek and a representative from the New Lammas Land Defence Committee.
Sunday, 3 August, 12-4pm
Day three will be dedicated to gathering hay and building haystacks. This is a family friendly event and guests are invited to bring their own picnic and join in the making of the largest haystack the Marshes have seen for while! The park rangers will also offer guided walks around the meadows with first-hand information about the wildlife, plants and land management.
The event is organised by the Lee Valley Regional Park Rangers together with artists Kathrin Böhm and Louis Buckley. This year’s ‘Haystack’ follows on from a first public haystack making on the marshes in 2013.