When Sue and I lived in Combe-in-Teignhead close by the Teign Estuary 1975-2000 so I could be near Torbay Hospital, we purchased three parcels of mostly steep and neglected land in 1986/7. A legacy from my mother helped in that. Broad leaved trees were planted. Access to two is especially poor **, and in our wet winters with a soil which is mostly clay, getting logs out can be tricky. The tractor and link box is sometimes needed.
All together there are 28 acres of beautiful broadleafed woodland, and 7 acres of more level pasture. Within the 18 acres of wood pasture there is a cider orchard, with some ‘cookers’, which Sue and I planted c. 1988. In the springs and autumns this orchard is especially beautiful ***, and fruitfull. The perry pear tree, Blakeney’s Red – the most popular ‘perry’ in Gloucester, has born many fine pears. In addition, we have about 4 acres of woodland by us here at Haytor. This was planted about 80 years ago with conifers – mostly Douglas Fir, to the north, and nursing mostly beech to the south. Most of the conifers have been felled and sold to sawmills. Some of the beech trees have been felled by windblow – 3 very vicious northerly gales, but a good majority remain. Some of these, with Scots pine (NOT for hearth logs), will be judiciously felled as self-sown beeches, rowans and other species grow up in new light.
So we have plenty of hardwood for your woodburners or hearths. I enjoy the whole process, including meeting you the customers! I employ Mark Blaber every Thursday fortnight (he has helped us in the house, garden and woods for most of 40 years), and Richard Penellum these past 6 years every Monday. I now have willing help from 2 young men in Combe – Josh Trower and James Deane. The former plans to work in the country,joins Bicton College soon, and James is a decorative blacksmith.
Points. The dryness of the wood matters. It takes 540 calories to change 1ml of water into steam. And burning wet logs is more likely to cause wood tar to line the flue. Seasoning, especially in dry summers, is part of that. Most of our logs have come from felling about a year before they come to you. However, we store about 7 tons in our linhay, and more in a log store we built in the ash and sweet chestnut coppice 6 years ago to my design. 1. Do have a good dry log store, preferably facing east for the drying winds. 2. Lay the logs by the fire for a few days. Radial cracks show their drying. 3. Warm the flue quickly by getting it to burn fiercely for some minutes, and before you go to bed. This is to rid the flue of distillates/wood tar. This is minimal in a lined and insulated flue, and with dry hardwood ie below say 12% moisture content. And make sure the chimney is cleaned in summer.
We cut and split the logs to suit your fire – maximum length you will tell us. By having our logs, you are part of our conservation of the natural world – hedge steeping, encouraging re-growth of native species, barn owls in the linhay etc. Lots of chestnuts, walnuts, acorns etc for the mammals for the owls.
David and Sue Halpin Kiln Shotts, Haytor, Newton Abbot TQ13 9XR 01364 661115
** more difficult and thus more time
*** I will add images to my web site https://dhalpin.infoaction.org.uk/ or search ‘halpin frcs website’
Delivered prices – Summer - April to September £80 per cubic metre. Winter – October to March £90
The woodlands are being ‘de-registered’ with HMRC so we will no longer be paying 5% of the income as VAT. The ‘government’ have added vast complications to VAT which will have added tedious hours for us both. We will be paying back VAT on two items purchased years ago, scaled down of course.
Remember that VAT was going to be a replacement for Income Tax, and VAT one collects for HMG!
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Contact: David and Sue Halpin on 01364 661115