Enormous Wooden ‘arrish’ rake

Local Industry

Enormous Wooden ‘arrish’ rake

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 This enormous wooden rake, well over six feet in width and with 24 peg tines, was used to turn mown hay and redistribute straw, stubble and chaff residues after harvest. It was used by hand rather than being horse-drawn, requiring hard work and great strength from the worker. The local name of ‘arrish’ may have originated in the French word for removing weeds. Although this particular example is from a local farm of the last century, similar if somewhat smaller rakes are still made today in Cumbria, by the last surviving craftsman. With cost and environmental pressures reducing the use of weedkiller and deep ploughing in some of today’s cultivation methods, the technique of raking the earth to loosen it and remove weeds is gaining in popularity. However, today’s mechanised stubble rakes for no-till cultivation have many more sharp metal tines and are more likely to be pulled by tractor than by manpower.