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Gwaun Charcoal Helped Heat Up County Barbecues

Charcoal produced from National Park woodland in the Gwaun Valley is available for using on your barbecue.  The Cilrhedyn Woodland Centre, which is run by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, has started producing charcoal from regular kiln burns.

The new production, believed to be the first in the Gwaun Valley for over 50 years, continues an age-old tradition which locally spans several centuries.

Celia Thomas, the Park Authority’s Woodlands Officer, said that old charcoal hearths could still be identified in Gwaun woodlands. This had been a thriving industry locally until the advent of coke in the mid 19th century.

“Woodland was coppiced every 25 to 30 years and the timber used for charcoal production. This form of woodland management ceased around 1850 and with it went a way of life that helped sustain the countryside. This traditional management of woodlands produced habitats that were perfect for species such as the dormouse and fritillary butterflies, most notably the high brown. All of the populations of these species have declined hugely over the past century, and finding ways of ensuring that the woods and wildlife that depends on them can continue to thrive is important if we are to see these declines reversed".

Dewi Jones, Woodland Supervisor based at Cilrhedyn, said that charcoal production can play a useful part in this process.
 “Making charcoal is a very useful way of turning ‘waste’ timber into a product that can bring extra income back to the woods, enabling us to continue to look after some of Pembrokeshire’s most special woodlands.”

Dewi added that the Park Authority is looking for outlets in the area to sell on the charcoal at trade discount. Anyone interested in purchasing or stocking Cilrhedyn Charcoal should telephone 01348 881441 for further information.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority