Bulrushes harvested as old tradition revived
Published 14/08/2016 | 18:41
Craftsmen are using short sickles to harvest bulrushes in a Suffolk river for the first time in half a century.
Anna Toulson, owner of Waveney Rush, said the traditional company, founded in 1947, had imported rushes since the 1960s when supply became scarce.
But when the Environment Agency and the Broads Authority alerted them to an overgrown one-mile stretch of river they leapt at the opportunity.
The section of the River Waveney, near Bungay in Suffolk, was too shallow and narrow for weed-cutting boats.
"We're going in to get the rushes to make things with which is great, but also to help the river course by taking out debris to allow it to run better," she said.
In medieval times rushes were used as floor-covering and for mattresses.
A team of eight weavers at Waveney Rush will handcraft bespoke carpets and baskets once the drying process is completed.