bush craft course

Food and drink
Tea and coffee are available at breaks, both morning and afternoon with biscuits and cake provided to keep up energy levels. Please bring a packed lunch with you unless otherwise stated.




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"While the burn is taking place we will examine all the different uses for charcoal - old and modern - and if there is time a tour of the woodland which is actively managed and coppiced."

It is not widely appreciated that the traditional method of charcoal production using an earth 'clamp' or later a steel 'kiln' is quite inefficient and also very polluting.


The 'retort' method we will demonstrate uses useless brash to bring the wood destined to be charcoal up to 400°F (when carbonisation occurs), driving off moisture first the volatile gases (methane etc) which are directed back into the fire pit to self fuel the process.

This method is used at an industrial level in the UK.

Giving a use to all the brash generated by coppice management that needs to be cleared off the woodland floor to allow unhindered regeneration of the wild flowers and the coppice 'stools'. Normally this is just burnt as waste - much effort with no real gain.

This is a practical, hands on course, to give participants a full appreciation of the various stages, including grading for different markets.

You will be able to learn the other skills necessary in Coppice Management, chief among them sharpen and use bill hook efficiently. And we will also examine the other tools and devices, notably an up to date version of a faggot 'engine', a terrific device for converting useless brushwood into a useful product.

There will be a comprehensive and thought provoking display of coppice products, materials and finished goods.

We regard this as a great opportunity for participants and the hosts to 'network', swapping ideas and information so you are very likely to come away fired up not only for retort charcoal but also other coppice / woodland opportunities.

Woodland owner of 16 years, Paul Howe Browne will co-host - he provides his own knowledge of woodland ecology and management.


Dates 2012: TBC

Tutors: Andrew Basham and Paul Howe Browne

Price: £115

Location: Hales Wood, Ashdon

Duration: 2 days

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