Readers' Photographs: A Wiltshire Harvest

PUBLISHED: 14:31 04 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:56 20 February 2013

Readers' Photographs: A Wiltshire Harvest

Readers' Photographs: A Wiltshire Harvest

Laura Smith photographs farmer Andrew Snook processing his summer wheat crop

Laura Smith photographs farmer Andrew Snook processing his summer wheat crop

Andrew Snook, the farmer

These photographs were taken on 11 July at Allenmead Farm in Patney. This summer was the hottest and driest for years with minimum wind, enabling the tallest, straightest crop ideal for thatching.
I use Aquilla seed and I"have 20 acres. It is becoming a dying trade. Where once upon a time growing wheat for thatching was normal to see, now it is a novelty. The main reason being the lack of specialist machinery as manufacturers have discontinued the lines.
The wheat is cut when ripe with a binder, followed by stooking it in the field, and then storing to dry out the corn. Once dried, it is ready for threshing when the wheat is put through a machine to remove all the corn. Finally the leftover wheat is bundled (creating a straight edge) ready for thatching, and that material will have a lifespan of 10-15 years.

Laura Smith, the photographer

I use a Canon Rebel xti with a wide angle lens 17-40mm. This scene caught my eye as I was driving past on my way to Devizes. I immediately pulled over and walked up to the farmers to ask their permission to take photographs.
This method of farming is so rare to see these days and I feel it should be celebrated and not allowed to disappear from our landscape and thatch from our quintessentially English cottage roofs.
I have a degree in photography from Leeds Metropolitan University. Last year I worked with Raleigh, the charity in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, as the project photographer for five months. I work as a freelance photographer and chef and live in Salisbury.


A+ South & South West

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