Date posted: 09.01.24

Spring is still a few months away and you should still have a good supply of wood if you have planned well. But that’s not to stop you from collecting firewood. Gathering firewood at this time of the year is great for a good many reasons. The recent high winds from storm Henk means there will be a lot of branches lying redundant on the forest floor ready to collect. It’s much better to use wood from fallen branches as firewood as opposed to simply letting them decay.

Preparing Wood:

The process of sourcing and preparing firewood is easier this time of the year due to the availability of fallen branches and even uprooted trees. One major advantage of gathering firewood in January is that you have all the spring and summer to season it. While hardwoods like oak can take up to two years to season, softwoods like cedar can be seasoned in around just six months.

Own a Coppice?

If you have your own coppice, even as something as small as a 10m x 15m area, you can grow up to an incredible one tonne of wood every five years. If you burn 200kg of wood a year – which is more than enough for most homes for occasional use, you will have a sustainable, free source of heating. You would need to grow fast-growing trees such as willow, which may not be a great wood to burn it is always an option. If you have a larger coppice, you can grow more wood, whereas slower-growing, more suitable firewood (such as various hardwoods) would be more of a viable option.

Is it legal to take wood from a woodland?

Over 13% of the UK land area is woodlands, equating to around 3.2 million hectares, which is just under eight million acres. While exploring the various woodlands the UK has to offer, you may come across wood which will be perfect for your wood-burning stove. But would it be legal to remove wood from a woodland? Not everyone is lucky enough to have their own coppice or woodland, and so these questions are often asked.

The law states that everything in a wood belongs to the woodland owner. This includes trees, branches, leaves and logs. If you were to remove logs from a woodland without the permission of the land owner, it would be considered theft. It is, therefore, essential that you have the consent of the woodland owner before you take any wood home with you.

Many landowners who perhaps have had their woodlands logged would often welcome someone to come along and remove the leftover wood – but do ask before you help yourself. Much of the leftover wood would make perfect firewood.

Whether you have your own coppice or plan to source wood from other areas, make sure you stay legal.

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