A BBQ Summer? Charcoal Making on the Gower

There are exciting opportunities coming soon to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales’ woodland reserves on the Gower.  The Trust, along with sponsors, is in the process of starting up a charcoal project.

This sustainable project, both environmentally and financially, will mean that the Trust will be able to use the wood that they need to take out of the woodland to create a product they can use and sell.

Paul Thornton Wildlife Trust Officer responsible for the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales’ Gower reserves said,

“We are currently managing many of our woodland reserves with support from the Better Woodlands For Wales grant scheme and each year fell and extract a good volume of timber where appropriate whilst still leaving a good proportion of cut timber stacked in the wood to increase deadwood reserves for invertebrates and fungi.

In times gone by most of Britain’s woodlands were in active management for specific materials or a crop and a well-managed woodland has enormous benefits for biodiversity. If WTSWW can manage our woodlands for wildlife and at the same time bring an income to the charity then that is a win win for everyone.”

For the past few years the team on Gower have been exploring different ways of bringing an income from trees cut for  conservation to help support fund the work they do and have established a small fire wood round and occasionally sell sawn timber from their own mobile sawmill and other coppice products.

Thanks to funding from Gower AONB Sustainable Development Fund The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales & Dryad Bushcraft have been able to purchase charcoal kilns and other equipment needed to make BBQ charcoal and biochar soil improver. The project will begin with demo burns and training in August and coppice and habitat management in starting after the end of the bird nesting season in September.

Charcoal will be on the shelves of outlets on Gower in spring.

To find out more or to apply to volunteer contact Paul on p.thornton@welshwildlife.org or call him on 07966 564372



Contact Lyndsey Maiden 07799 050805 l.maiden@welshwildlife.org

Our website: www.welshwildlife.or

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is the largest charitable organisation working exclusively on all aspects of wildlife conservation in south and west Wales.

The Wildlife Trust works for a better future for all kinds of wildlife across south and west Wales. Our mission is to protect and improve habitats and wildlife in our local area as well as helping people to enjoy and understand their local wildlife.  Our vision is for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone.

We achieve this through:

Acquiring and managing nature reserves - we currently manage around 85 nature reserves throughout South and West Wales (including Skomer and Skokholm islands).   From ancient woodland to wetland, wildflower meadow to marsh, reed bed to heathland, they contain a rich variety of species, many extremely rare. These nature reserves form a land holding equal to approximately 4,000 acres.  Of these reserves10 lie within Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas, seven are National Nature Reserves (NNRs), 40 are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and five are Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

Acting as wildlife champions - by advising on policy and planning, campaigning on wildlife issues, and protecting wildlife beyond our reserves.  We provide habitat and species management advice directly to those managing land and we also work with key partners and local people to promote habitat enhancement and restoration.

Helping people understand, protect and celebrate their environment - the Trust promotes the view that people from all sections of society should have access to wildlife and the natural world for enjoyment, learning, and well-being.  We invest in the future by helping all ages to gain a better understanding of nature. Our work with schools and our junior club, Wildlife Watch, is enjoyed by hundreds of children.


Are you interested in the magical process of charcoal making? Would you like to help manage our woodlands for biodiversity? Looking for experience to help you progress in a career in countryside management? Or maybe just looking to get dirty and get some exercise! Become a WTSWW Woodsman (or woman). WTSWW are currently seeking volunteers to work along side our experienced Reserves Team in our Gower woodland reserves as part of this project. Opportunities will be avaliable on an “ad hoc” basis until September and on most week days through the winter months.


To find out more or to apply to volunteer contact Paul on p.thornton@welshwildlife.org or call him on 07966 564372

This project has been part funded by the Welsh Assembly Government Sustainable Development Fund