Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Charcoal

Wassledine's lumpwood charcoal, just lit; ready to cook on in about 20 minutes

Wassledine’s lumpwood charcoal, just lit; ready to cook on in about 20 minutes

We started producing small quantities of lumpwood charcoal in 2016, from old hazel, cut in both Bottoms’ Corner, Gravenhurst and Centenary Wood, Pulloxhill, Beds. The wood we are using is a bit too small to sell as firewood but too big and not straight enough for most other uses. We thought charcoal would be a sensible way to make use of it. We were impressed with the quality of the charcoal we produced, so decided to go into production in a small way.

Prices, quantities and how to get some

Our charcoal for sale in 3kg bags at Stephen's Plants in Maulden

Our charcoal for sale in 3kg bags at Stephen’s Plants in Maulden

We are currently selling bags of 3kg at £7.50, collected from Gravenhurst. Stephen’s Plants on the A507 at Maulden have just started to stock our charcoal too. To buy charcoal from us direct, please contact us to arrange a time to collect.

Good stuff?

We reckon it’s good stuff. It really does light easily* and burns for a good while, nice and evenly, without smoke (until of course your food starts to drip oil onto it). We add nothing to it so there’s no danger of tainting your lovely food with noxious stuff.

*Try this way to get the barby going – wrap a couple of good handfuls in 3 sheets of dry newspaper and set in your barbeque. Light this and leave it for a couple of minutes. Once things are definitely happening, add more charcoal and leave it alone – go do something else, have a beer, water some plants, look at a tree; it should be ready to cook on in about 20 minutes.

Charcoal and the environment (a bit of a rant…)

Apart from the culinary advantages offered by British charcoal, the other great thing about it is that by buying our (or most other British produced charcoal), you are supporting small businesses that actively manage woodland, most likely, like us, by coppicing – more information about our woods and coppicing here . If these small coppicing businesses thrive, species that are well suited to coppiced woodlands, such as bluebells, primroses, wood anemones, willow warblers, nightingales, dormice, etc. get a chance to thrive also.

And finally…  ..if you buy locally produced charcoal, you are reducing the road miles and fuel required to get the stuff into your barbeque, compared particularly with charcoal from abroad.

No, really finally this time…    ..a lot of imported charcoal is still made of wood cut from pristine forest and mangrove swamps in tropical regions. This is contributing to the threats faced by some of the world’s most endangered species.

Ok rant over.

Making charcoal in an oil drum kiln

Making charcoal in an oil drum kiln

How we make charcoal

Currently we use oil drums as kilns. When first we started researching the subject, we knew that kilns weren’t the way we wanted to go; they are, in our opinion, hard work, dirty, inefficient, dirty, polluting… and did I say dirty? We would like to acquire a retort (a more efficient and decidedly cunning method that uses gases given off by the wood to fuel the process ) and are working on raising the funds to make this possible – they are more expensive than kilns. In the meantime, we use the free method of oil drums donated by the marvellous Chris Case at Town Farm Garage, Gravenhurst (the only place to get your car serviced!)

 

Get In Touch

  Address: 45 Clophill Road, Gravenhurst, Bedford, MK45 4JH

  Phone: 01462 711815

  Mobile: 07794 013876

  Web: http://wassledine.co.uk

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