Poldark? No it's scyther Charles, Prince of bales: Royal reveals how he relishes using traditional farming methods as he tends meadows on the Highgrove estate

  • Prince Charles occasionally enjoys a spot of scything in estate meadows
  • He has revealed he enjoys trying traditional farming methods at Highgrove 
  • Charles is so passionate about scything he judged Romanian competition
  • Scything featured in BBC's Poldark featuring Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark

He might not seem to have much in common with the BBC’s rugged Captain Ross Poldark.

But, like the nation’s latest heartthrob, Prince Charles occasionally gets out into his meadows to enjoy a spot of scything, it can be revealed.

Unlike the show’s beefy lead actor, Aiden Turner, who earned a legion of female fans after appearing topless as he toiled in the fields, the heir to the throne apparently prefers to keep his countryside gear firmly buttoned up.

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Mock up: How the Daily Mail imagines Prince Charles might look as Poldark (give or take a few years)

Mock up: How the Daily Mail imagines Prince Charles might look as Poldark (give or take a few years)

Still, the prince says he relishes getting hot and sweaty in the pastures at Highgrove, his Gloucestershire home, when he has the time, as part of his push to bring back traditional farming methods.

Asked recently about his efforts, Charles waxed lyrical about the benefits of scything – and even admitted watching the hit BBC show with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall – although he laughingly insisted that he was ‘no Poldark’.

‘But, yes, I do occasionally try my hand,’ he said.

The meadow Charles practices his scything in is planted with thousands of wildflowers from Transylvania, one of the most unspoilt rural communities in the world where farming methods have barely changed in 100 years and Charles himself owns a holiday home.

The prince believes that the traditional mowing method helps to disperse the flower seeds more evenly and is less harmful to wildlife. He then lets in one of his flocks of sheep to trample the seeds into the soil as they would do in the wild.

So passionate is Charles about the art of scything – and according to professional scythers, there is an art – that he recently judged a local competition near the village of Zalanpatak in Romania when he flew out for his annual holiday.

In an interview with the BBC Radio 4 programme On Your Farm, to be broadcast later this month, Charles says: ‘Interestingly I discovered that in the UK there’s a very flourishing scything society who help to come and scythe bits of my meadow every now and again.’

Stately: Prince of Wales' Georgian mansion, Highgrove, in Gloucestershire, where he enjoys traditional farming

Stately: Prince of Wales' Georgian mansion, Highgrove, in Gloucestershire, where he enjoys traditional farming

Last year the heir to the throne launched the Coronation Meadows project which aims to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation by identify a meadow in every county and use those sites to restore or recreate other meadows in their area.

The prince added: ‘But all I’m saying is that scything, because it’s done at that level, is incredibly beneficial to the wild flower production and continuity. Now, there are certain meadows that you could apply scything to, if you were keen enough to do it, and there are more people interested.’

The prince said he found himself captivated by the timelessness of Transylvania when he first visited there 20 years and ago believes the UK, which has lost some 97 per cent of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s, could learn from its biodiversity.

Rugged Ross Poldark is played by Aidan Turner

Rugged Ross Poldark is played by Aidan Turner

He said: ‘For so many years we have….exploited nature…and put nothing back. We have been taught that we don’t depend on all this. What you have to do is remind people of this.

‘There is a whole range of challenges, but I still think that it is not beyond the wit of man to develop a system that would allow economic development within a framework of balanced environmental protection and enhancement.’

Farmer and Scythe Association representative Simon Fairlie yesterday confirmed his organisation had been cutting the prince’s fields for a number of years.

Speaking about the process he said: ‘You’re cutting the grass for hay on a small scale with scythes, and it’s a bit more sensitive to the wildlife.’

Scything today is undergoing something of a renaissance – and it’s not all down to Poldark.

Local authorities, stately homes and even suburban gardeners are increasingly using a lightweight Austrian scythe as an environmentally-friendly alternative to managing weeds and grass.

But while Poldark’s infamous scything scene may have helped the BBC’s rating hit the roof, enthusiasts – including those who regularly visit Charles’s wildflower meadows – insist that the star employed a ‘terrible action’

Turner was criticised for ‘hacking’ at the hay and employing too much ‘sweating and grunting’, instead of the rather more ‘sedate’ technique normally favoured by the experts.

He was also criticised for taking his shirt off, which was said to be ‘unrealistic’ given he would have needed it to protect him from the sun. 

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