CANW Logo COPPICE ASSOCIATION North West

Charcoal Matter

For a list of current Charcoal Stockists in the area please see
www.lakelandcoppiceproducts.co.uk (website run by CANW member Ian Taylor).

CHARCOAL MAKING and SELLING TODAY

contributed by Brian Crawley and Tony Saunders December 2007

Coppice Association North West has an active band of charcoal makers. About 10 to 15 separate businesses produce mainly domestic barbecue charcoal from broadleaved woods, mostly coppices. Other types of charcoal are made for horticultural use, restaurants and artists. The charcoal is made mostly in metal ring kilns although some is made in metal barrels and some in "earthburns".

CANW has organised a supply of bags for packaging the barbecue charcoal ready for sale to the user. Some members use their own personalised packaging.

Much of the output is sold to local retailers like late-night-stores, garages, newsagents, garden centres, etc. Other bagged charcoal is sold via the national Bioregional Charcoal Company contract to B&Q stores and some charcoal is sold in bulk to E&S fuel suppliers in Lancaster for eventual sale in Booths supermarkets. Outlets are constantly under review!

The major competition to locally made charcoal is imported charcoal currently providing about 95% of UK consumption but gas barbecues are gaining popularity. However, the attributes of locally made charcoal make for convincing publicity:-

Courses in charcoal making are arranged from time to time by Cumbria Woodlands and some CANW members.

BRITISH WOOD CHARCOAL - HORTICULTURAL CHIPS (BIO-CHAR)

The addition of charcoal chips enhances the moisture properties of most growing media in two apparently contradictory ways:-

The mild alkalinity of charcoal (pH of 8-10) will sweeten over-acid soils and composts. It's use also improves levels of calcium, potassium and magnesium.

All charcoal created by CANW members is made  from well managed, sustainable, broadleaved, coppice woods.

A report from an Italian investigation - to which both Ian Taylor and Rebecca Oaks supplied material - is available as a *.pdf HERE and may be helpful to those wishing to promote sales.


Stock 'bio-char' or charcoal 'fines'
 


'Bio-char' mixed with finely sieved soil for evenness of spreading


Soil surface 3 years after application of a clay-rich site


Turned-over soil - structure and drainage is greatly improved

COPPICE ASSOCIATION North West can be contacted c/o Cumbria Woodlands, Ground Floor, River Mill, Staveley Mill Yard, Staveley, Kendal, Cumbria LA8 9LR T 0773 0411 538 E secretary.canw@googlemail.com
or contact the Website officer (Tony Morgan) for website matters.

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