The Parks and Countryside Department at Sheffield City Council has upgraded to the latest version of Ransomes Jacobsen's remote controlled slope mower, with the recent delivery of a Ransomes Spider II, by local dealer Golf & Turf Machinery.
Specially designed for mowing steep slopes and banks, this new machine is larger than the original Spider it replaces. This Mark II version has a wider cutting width of 1.23 metres and is powered by a larger, more powerful Kawasaki 680cc, 23hp petrol engine driving four overlapping mulching blades. With a 16 litre fuel tank it can work for five hours on slopes of up to 55° with assistance from its integrated winch.
Melvyn Riley is a District Parks Officer with the Council's Parks and Countryside Department and says, "Historically we had a particular issue with Stocksbridge Clock Tower Gardens which we maintain in partnership with Stocksbridge Town Council. In years gone by gardeners were employed to cut the steep bank on which the clock tower stands with pedestrian mowers. Recently, health and safety issues have meant that we could not continue with the maintenance of this space. It is important we get the grass maintenance of this site right as the gardens were overlooked by the town council's offices and is a prominent feature of the town centre.
"We investigated possible solutions for mowing the bank and came across the Ransomes Spider. We had it on site for a demonstration and even had the Town Clerk operating it in the gardens. It was so impressive it actually stopped the traffic! It has proved to be an ideal solution to our problem.
"Use for the mower has grown due to other HSE issues and we have continued to identify more areas across the City where it can be used. That's why we've now purchased this latest version, the Spider II, because it has a wider width of cut and is more productive than our previous machine. Also it has a synchronised winch, which can enable it to be used on steeper slopes, which means we can mow more areas, which previously were not possible to maintain. We share it with our colleagues in Street Force and it's really helped us to raise the general standards of tidiness of the steep banks in the various open spaces across the city."