Friday, 31 January 2014

Tractor Based Harvesting - Free Demonstration Event

To book online click here.

Alternatively email Matthew or call 01303 815 171.

What buyers of firewood want

We were so pleased to read about the results of Certainly Wood's customer feedback exercise.  Finding data for the wood fuel sector is notoriously hard - and if you do find some the base from which the statistics are derived can be woefully small.

At around 2,300 Certainly Wood's survey seems fairly robust.  We've not seen the actual survey or looked at the analysis - but taken at face value the results should be of interest to anyone involved in woodfuel.

Right at the top of the list is moisture content - and more specifically moisture content below 20%.  As we know Certainly Wood specialise in kiln-dried wood so this sort of confirms their USP.  However, it does reinforce that fact that most consumers are pretty well informed when it comes to seasoning and moisture and they clearly look for these attributes when buying logs.

Next up are sustainability, supply chain and production.  Encouraging to see that such high emphasis is placed on where the fuel comes from.  We are not familiar with Certainly Wood's supply chain but clearly their customers like buying British and are at least aware of the need for sustainable sourcing.

Given the paucity of information from the woodfuel sector this survey makes interesting reading.  We are also fairly impressed with the marketing approach.  

We know that not all firewood businesses are this large, but good marketing can clearly help drive business.  Berties Woodfuel, based in Hadlow in Kent, is another example of where simple marketing and branding can really help differentiate a business.

Monday, 27 January 2014

National Coppice Federation - Issue 2 of newsletter

The second issue of The Cleft Stick, the newsletter of the National Coppice Federation or NCFED, is now available.

The newsletter provides an interesting and useful update of topics relating to coppice management.  

NCFED was only launched on October last year and it seems like this newsletter is one of the first bits of communication from this newly formed group.  The NCFED website is still taking shape and we assume that more information will begin to flow as 2014 progresses.

The newsletter includes a useful round up of events.  Of interest to those in the south east are the following:

  • Feb 1st (Saturday). Coppice Tool Bring-and-Buy Sale, nr Tunbridge Wells, Kent. See newsletter for more details.

  • Feb 25th, 26th and 27th. Three one-day deer management courses at Plumpton College, east Sussex. More info at Plumpton College website.

We have uploaded to the latest issue to help those not currently on the circulation list gain access to it.  Click the following link: The Cleft Stick - NCFED Issue 2.

If you would like to be added to the circulation list for The Cleft Stick please email

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

RHPP due to end soon - £2,000 grant towards the cost of a biomass boiler

Last chance for off-the-gas-grid households who want to make the most of the Government’s one-off grant designed to help meet the costs of installing renewable technologies in homes across the country.

The Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme will close on March 31st 2014 and householders are encouraged to apply now before it’s too late. 

Grants of up to £2,300 are available for households to help pay for new renewable heating systems including biomass boilers and ground, water source or air-to-water heat pumps.

The cut-in date for this scheme is 21st July 2011 and participating households must have undertaken a Green Deal assessment.

Vouchers will be valid until 31 March 2014  when all required paperwork will need to be submitted for payment  to the Energy Saving Trust. No extensions will be available to this deadline.

The following leaflet has now been developed to explain the benefit of applying in customer friendly language and where to go for more information.

Friday, 17 January 2014

UK Forestry Standard and Woodland Management Plan Workshops

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Free seminar - Game Management in Woodlands

High Weald AONB will deliver a free seminar on game management in woodlands on March 6th (see details below).

Game management can form part of a multi-functional approach to woodland management.  With good planning it can be compatible with management for conservation and wood fuels (such as wood chip for on-estate biomass boilers and firewood).

Traditionally small-scale felling and harvesting of timber tends to be fitted around the shooting calendar.  This is fine, but often the wider opportunity creating wood fuels for an estate is overlooked.

Given that the Renewable Heat Incentive continues to offer an excellent subsidy for heat generated by biomass boilers game managers should consider  other options for woodland management.

The Kent Downs Woodfuel Pathfinder can provide free support for those interested in woodland management for wood fuels, including free biomass heating feasibility studies.  Please contact for more details.