16th October 2020 @ 6:00 pm
Pentiddy Coppice
Ele and Anthony

We are hoping to do another charcoal burn on the evening of Friday 16th October as long as the weather remains favourable. As promised in an earlier thread, we would like to provide you with some further information about how and why we make charcoal here and to give you an opportunity to ask questions and voice your concerns.

Kiln Picture.
A Charcoal burn in process

The main points to mention are:

1) that the charcoal we make is destined for local use, giving people a real connection with what they are consuming. It’s easy to buy from the other side of the world and not worry about the consequences for the people living there and their environment. It also aids the building of local resilience which feels more important than ever at the moment. Cornwall has exceptionally low woodland cover compared to other areas of the country and as a result has very few charcoal producers.. This sadly means that people have few options other than to buy charcoal that is contributing to deforestation in other parts of the world.

2) the charcoal we produce is made from timber that has limited other uses (some might call it ‘waste’ but we’re doing our bit to help that word to become obsolete!) Sweet Chestnut spits on an open fire so can only be used in woodburners and much of it is of a diameter smaller than people want to buy as firewood.

3) of the 21,000 trees we’ve planted here, many are now being managed on a coppice cycle. As well as providing useful timber resources over a longer period than an unmanaged tree, coppice woodland provides a rich habitat for a multitude of species which are under threat such as the dormouse and a host of invertebrates.

Making charcoal in this way is not profitable. Our motivations are environmental not economic. We don’t intend to do more than 1 or 2 burns each year.

The smoke for the first hour of the burn is very thick but we are only burning seasoned wood, there is absolutely nothing else in the kiln. A lot of commercial charcoal is made from freshly cut wood which is much more polluting. We tried to tie the last burn in with the best window of opportunity for wind direction so that it would affect as few people as possible. Unfortunately the wind had other ideas and changed its mind at the last minute. We will do our best again this time. We’re giving you plenty of notice to keep your doors and windows closed . As suggested by someone on a previous discussion, we will also put a notice in the village shop for those who don’t use facebook.

We have the necessary ‘Waste exemption’ license for the burns we undertake and we always inform the Cornwall Fire and Rescue prior to lighting. The burn will start in the evening so that it effects people less.

We are committed to trying to do out best for the local environment and for you, our local community in all that we do here at Pentiddy. We’re also committed to minimising the suffering of people in the Global South who too frequently bare the brunt of the consequences of our consumer choices.

We hope this goes some way to explaining what we do any why we do it. If you would like to read more information you can follow this link to the National Coppice Federation website: https://ncfed.org.uk/public/products/charcoal/