Our charcoal is made using sustainably coppiced wood from Park
Wood in West Malvern. We are restoring the woodland to produce
quality hazel for craft use whilst improving the habitat for
wildlife. Last winter over 700 new hazel trees were planted by
volunteers as part of this restoration. The poor quality timber
resulting from this work is converted into firewood and charcoal
Loading the charcoal kiln with locally
coppiced wood - The wood needs to be seasoned for up
to a year before being converted into charcoal. It is stacked
radially, leaving a hole down the centre in which a fire can be
Setting the charge -
small fire is made on the ground next to the kiln and the hot
embers are placed into the centre of the kiln on to a prepared
bed of kindling and fire wood. The fire is fed by air through
the 8 ‘ports’ on which the kiln sits.
Placing the lid
- once the fire has taken hold, the lid is put on and the four
chimneys are placed on top in order to warm them up. This will
help them to ‘draw’ once they are placed in the ports. As the
fire burns the lid will slowly settle down into place. Only then
can the chimneys be put in place in their ports.
– once the lid has
settled down the rim is sealed with soil to make it air tight.
Four ports act as chimneys and four as air inlets. The fire is
kept small by restricting the air flow though the ports. The
wood is effectively ‘cooked’ as moisture and volatile compounds
are driven off by the heat. The inlets and chimneys are
periodically swapped over.
The finished product
when the chimneys start to produce a clear blue-ish
‘smoke’, the charcoal is ready. All ports must be
completely closed so that the fire goes out and the kiln can
cool. When it has completely cooled down, the lid can be lifted
and the charcoal bagged!
The Ultimate BBQ
A pregnant Kelda cooking sausages on the extremely hot charcoal
If you would
like to come and learn how to make charcoal please see our