On Saturday 27th August a team of charcoal burners will take up residence at the Dean Heritage Centre to demonstrate their traditional forest craft. The charcoal burn takes three days and involves a number of willing volunteers who must monitor the stack hroughout the night in order to ensure a successful burn. The Dean Heritage Centre is one of the few places left in the UK where charcoal is burned regularly and the event is held annually over the Bank Holiday weekend. Charcoal that has been created onsite will be on sale in the centre’s newly refurbished shop.
Clayton Ryder, site manager at the Dean Heritage Centre, and his team will be using timber obtained from local forest land but they have hopes that in the future, coppicing projects will allow them to use timber from their own site. Clayton said:
“The Charcoal Burn is an opportunity to see a very traditional craft that has values of sustainability as well as producing a local product that is free from unnecessary chemicals. We currently source the timber offsite but with our new coppicing project on Bradley Hill we hope to use wood cultivated onsite in the future. Coppicing is a valuable process but it takes time.”
Also taking place onsite across the weekend will be chainsaw carving demonstrations, pole-lathe turning and bush craft activities. The bush craft demonstrations will be available on Sunday afternoon and the Gloucestershire bee keepers will be attending on Bank Holiday Monday. In addition there will be a photography exhibition by local artist Ben Locke whose work has been featured on BBC Spring Watch, 5 onsite galleries exploring the history of the Forest; a reconstructed Victorian cottage; an adventure playground; and a variety of animals – so a wide range of things to do and see for all the family.