We have recently installed beautiful new woodburning stoves in our yurts, restaurant, farm shop and cottages. Not only are these some of the most efficient and least air polluting stoves available on the market today they are also made right here on the Isle of Wight by Charnwood Stoves/AJ Wells. They are a family firm creating industry leading stove designs with a strong commitment to sustainable and responsible business.
As we come into the holiday season our guests will be enjoying the warmth and cosiness that these stoves create, especially in our yurts on colder nights. All of the logs we burn come from trees that have been grown, harvested and chopped by hand on the farm. In recent years this has been from trees planted by Colin or his father Martin up to 40 years ago. In fact, most of the trees you see when enjoying a walk around the farm were planted in the last 40 years. You only need to look at old photos of this area to see what a change there has been in the landscape as a result of our extensive tree planting.
However, more recently the logs will be almost exclusively from English Ash grown on the Garlic Farm and seasoned for a minimum of 18 months. Ash in the UK is under severe threat from a fungal virus infecting the species and threatening to decimate the population across Europe. Infected trees can rapidly become dangerous and limbs can fall without warning as the disease takes hold. For this reason we have had to fell many specimens around the farm that may have posed a risk to members of the public. Although this is a tragic story in many ways, not least as we see our landscape change as Ash features less prominently, there does appear to be signs of hope. We have many Ash trees around the farm that are displaying strong resilience to the disease and may yet prove to be capable of continuing to flourish in this country. As you approach the farm from the road you will also see the extensive hedgerow regeneration programme we are engaged in to replace the lost Ash with other native English species and provide a habitat for our most beloved and necessary wildlife.
Here's a wonderful and insightful poem about logs and wood burning written by Celia Congreve in 1930.
The Firewood Poem
These hardwoods burn well and slowly,
Ash, beech, hawthorn oak and holly.
Softwoods flare up quick and fine,
Birch, fir, hazel, larch and pine.
Elm and willow you'll regret,
Chestnut green and sycamore wet.
Beechwood fires are bright and clear,
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut's only good, they say,
If for long 'tis laid away.
But Ash new or Ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold.
Birch and fir logs burn too fast,
Blaze up bright and do not last.
It is by the Irish said,
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold.
But Ash green or Ash brown,
Is fit for a queen with golden crown.
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room,
With an incense like perfume.
Oaken logs if dry and old,
Keep away the winter's cold.
But Ash wet or Ash dry,
A king shall warm his slippers by.
Oak logs will warm you well,
That are old and dry.
Logs of pine will sweetly smell,
But the sparks will fly.
Birch logs will burn too fast,
Chestnut scarce at all sir.
Hawthorn logs are good to last,
That are cut well in the fall sir.
Holly logs will burn like wax,
You could burn them green.
Elm logs burn like smouldering flax,
With no flame to be seen.
Beech logs for winter time,
Yew logs as well sir.
Green elder logs it is a crime,
For any man to sell sir.
Pear logs and apple logs,
They will scent your room.
And cherry logs across the dogs,
They smell like flowers of broom.
But Ash logs smooth and grey,
Buy them green or old, sir.
And buy up all that come your way,
They're worth their weight in gold sir.
Logs to Burn, Logs to burn, Logs to burn,
Logs to save the coal a turn.
Here's a word to make you wise,
When you hear the woodman's cries.
Never heed his usual tale,
That he has good logs for sale.
But read these lines and really learn,
The proper kind of logs to burn.