Our homemade traditional charcoal will soon be available to buy from the Gift Shop. The 100% natural charcoal is made in our ring kiln mainly from ash and sycamore trees that have self-seeded here on the beautiful 45 acres of Arnos Vale Cemetery.
Our charcoal is £8 per 2.5kg bag and we have natural firelighters that are £5.50 per box. The firelighters are manufactured in Herefordshire.
As a registered charity we rely on the income from events and firewood sales to keep us going. All profit that we generate goes directly into keeping this totally unique, place of love and heritage running.
We use metal air cages and harness the gentle breeze that mother nature provides; a traditional drying technique that has been around for thousands of years. The logs are seasoned between 6 months and a year. This is much more eco-friendly than kiln drying and achieves a far better burn too.
Our qualified Estates team supervise and support our volunteers who split the logs into lengths that are just right for our ring kiln. We have been providing this fabulous charcoal to the community for over 10 years. By the way, did you know our volunteers have achieved ‘The Queen’s award for Voluntary Service? It’s the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.
Occasionally we have to fell trees, normally because they have become unsafe. For example, in recent years we have had oak, hawthorn, cherry and black locust. Along with ash and sycamore, these denser hardwoods are much more suitable for making charcoal.
We are currently responding to Ash dieback on site. It is a highly destructive disease of ash trees; however, it is perfectly safe to use ash logs that have been affected. You can find out more about our response to Ash dieback in this blog
We choose a summer day when the wind is blowing down the hill and off towards Bath. Next we notify our neighbours, put a post out on our social media channels and carefully load the wood into our kiln in a way that regulates air flow. The kiln is lit at around 5am and there is around 1 hour of smokiness. It is then monitored to allow a slow burn over the course of 12 hours with oxygen levels regulated by the ports and flues. Once fully converted the charcoal is graded and bagged up to be sold through the shop.
Our charcoal is made in a traditional way and has none of the binding additives that are in a lot of shop bought alternatives. To find out more about the sustainability of our charcoal vs most shop bought, click on this BBC Article
Because it is completely natural there is no chemical taint to your food and it creates a fantastic long, even burn, very different to compressed pellets drenched in chemicals that you might find elsewhere. Perfect for those Spring and Summer barbecues – our foodies love it!
We are proud to bear the logo of The National Coppice Federation on our fully recyclable paper bags of charcoal. This guarantees full adherence to their high quality and planet friendly standards.
The Clean Air Strategy sets out the government’s plans for dealing with all sources of air pollution, making our air healthier to breathe and protecting nature. The moisture level of our logs prior to burning for charcoal is checked and is compliant with the guidelines. We will only burn logs when they are well below 20% moisture.
Our 5 year land management is supported by The Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust. This gives us confidence that we are following the safest and most planet friendly approaches as guardians of these 45 acres. We were also proud to be awarded the Green Flag again this year.
Local families are telling us that back garden winter Friday family fire pit sessions with marshmallows, birthday barbecues and even special anniversary events were treats to look forward to.
Luckily there is plenty of stock from last year so no worries about running out.
As a charity we’re facing hugely difficult times, please donate if you can. Help to support this magical, special place by donating: Text ‘ARNOS’ to 70085 to donate £5. This costs £5 plus a standard rate message or set up a regular donation at Virgin Money Giving