VIDEO: Business uses a kiln to turn wood into charcoal

A business duo who convert wood into charcoal are camping at a farm in Gringley-on-the-Hill as they work to convert more than 40 willow trees.
Richard ClarkeRichard Clarke
Richard Clarke

Woodland Works was established in 2012 by Richard Clarke and Chris Etches to pursue their interest in the sustainable management of woodlands, ancient woodland crafts and charcoal making.

The heart of Woodland Works lies in woodland management, through coppicing, and clearing, opening up areas to support plant and animal life.

The pair work with local individuals and organisations to tailor work and activities to support the sustainable management of woodlands, offering bespoke services to meet all requirements.

Richard ClarkeRichard Clarke
Richard Clarke

Their latest work has brought them to Gringley-on-the-Hill near Polybell Farm after they were contacted by the RSPB and National Wildlife Trust to convert 47 willow trees into charcoal.

Richard Clarke said: “We use a Retort Kiln and it is the fifth one in the country.”

“The RSPB and National Wildlife Trust asked us to come here because the trees were big enough to support hawks and owls.”

“We have been here for a week already and will be here for another three weeks.”

Richard is there with only one other worker and they will complete all the required work between them.

Richard explained that the kiln is fully mobile and vastly reduces the time it takes to produce charcoal from four days down to one.

He said each burn provides 100 per cent conversion of wood providing 20 to 30 large size sacks of charcoal.

The smaller charcoal fines are also bagged as these can be used for horticultural purposes.

Richard said: “It is a simple but clever technology and the result is 100 per cent conversion to the best charcoal in the world.”

Woodland Works aims are to promote the importance and benefits of sustainable woodland management, work in partnership with other organisations to support their management of woodland areas and support local economies through the development of volunteer, apprenticeship and employment opportunities.

Richard said: “We are going to Leicester after this.”

“A company has hired us to make charcoal which they will sell to recoup the cost of us.”

“We want to support local networks and provide local organisations with a suitable product.”

Richard and Chris also do demonstrations for school groups so they can learn about woodland work and the processes involved.

To find out more about Woodland Works visit or if you would like to speak to Richard you can call him on 07803698320.

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