When we heard that there was going to be a demonstration charcoal burn in Selsdon Wood, we decided to take the afternoon off and take a closer look. The next thing we knew we were splitting coppiced Ash, Oak, Hazel and Cherry for the kiln!
Rob Sowter of Croydon Coppice & Charcoal and his band of volunteers use a mobile kiln to hold weekend burns in the surprisingly abundant woodland in and around the Croydon area. We helped load the kiln on Friday afternoon and it was fired up by Saturday lunch time.
In order to keep a close eye on the burn and make sure the chimneys were swapped mid burn to reverse the air flow, the guys spent Saturday night in the coppice clearing.
When we returned on Sunday there were 43 x 3kg bags of charcoal lined up for sale at £5 a bag. For anyone who hasn’t barbequed with native broadleaf derived charcoal, it is truly a superior product to cook with. English lumpwood achieves a higher temperature more quickly, enabling cooking after only 20 minutes. No firelighters are required, only newspaper is needed to get it going allowing you to enjoy the natural flavours of your food without the chemical residues.
To quote from the website:
“The UK on average consumes some 60,000 tonnes of charcoal each year mainly for the barbecue market of which 95% is imported, from as far away as South Africa,South America and China.
Why do we waste precious power, fueling ships to transport other countries carbon (who need it more themselves) to this country, when we can produce a superior product from our own broadleaved neglected woodlands?”