Buying woodland.

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Wood cutter
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Buying woodland.

Post by Wood cutter » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:56 am

Anyone know what size woodland would be required to give us a full but renewable supply of logs if we decided to heat and cook with a wood fired range?

I really like the idea of being completely self sufficient in this regard, but have no idea how large the woodland would need to be in order for us not to deplete the stock over time.

Obviously hardwood would be preferable, but I cant see how we could achieve this with slow growers. I was thinking Western Red Cedar or similar would probably be able to regenerate quickly enough, but I don't know what its like to burn.

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Brambles
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Re: Buying woodland.

Post by Brambles » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:03 pm

Coppicing is the way to go. You can do it with most fast growing deciduous trees like Ash, Beech, Birch, Hazel, Chestnut, Willow and others. It's the most sustainable way to grow firewood. Can't say how much you'd need though.

http://www.coppice.co.uk

HTH.
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Deeps
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Re: Buying woodland.

Post by Deeps » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:09 pm

I'm sure I saw a guy on youtube who was living off grid and he had a couple acres of wood which was enough for him but I think he was mostly living on his own. Guess it will vary on the wood and your personal demands.

Wood cutter
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Re: Buying woodland.

Post by Wood cutter » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:26 pm

Thanks guys. Can't think why coppicing hadn't occurred to me. I don't fancy having to dry a load of willow, but we've already got a load of Hazel in the woods and I'm a big fan of Ash as firewood.

Yes, I appreciate nobody can really tell me how much I'll need as its completely dependent on our usage. Thanks though, those answers are very useful.

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Briggs 2.0
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Re: Buying woodland.

Post by Briggs 2.0 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:42 pm

I ran my previous home on biomass sourced from my woodland to provide all heating and hot water so I've been down the road you're thinking of taking. I was using approximately four tons of wood fuel per annum via a 20Kw burner. From my 7 acres of mixed coniferous and native broadleaf, only about a third of a ton (or approximately one log load) came from coppicing my established Hazel. The rest came from clearing out mature fir and larch. (I do have a felling licence).

In my opinion, and I'm sure you're already thinking this way, the best guestimate is to total up the amount of wood you currently use in your range and keep that figure in mind when you look for your woodland. Only when you look at a woodland will you be able to work out what is already established and harvestable, and what potential there is for you to plant new and harvest.

There are so many factors to consider, for example, what is the Kw output of your range? How efficient is your range? How dry is your wood fuel? What is the calorific value of your chosen wood fuel? The last question is one I found very interesting, experimenting with mixes to get the most efficient burn.

You can get the calorific values from the FC website and most biomass fuel suppliers.

If you're planning on coppicing rather than felling, as Brambles said, it's Hazel and Willow that I'd recommend.
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Wood cutter
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Re: Buying woodland.

Post by Wood cutter » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:44 pm

Thanks Briggs, certainly some things to think about there.

I must admit to not even knowing the claimed output of the current range, but to be honest if I go ahead with this plan I'll probably need to invest in a larger more efficient one anyway.

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Briggs 2.0
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Re: Buying woodland.

Post by Briggs 2.0 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:45 pm

Wood cutter wrote:Thanks Briggs, certainly some things to think about there.

I must admit to not even knowing the claimed output of the current range, but to be honest if I go ahead with this plan I'll probably need to invest in a larger more efficient one anyway.
No probs - we've made a few mistakes and learned a lot along the way, it's all good fun though, nothing wrong with trying to be self-sufficient with heating. Don't forget, if you're thinking of getting a new range or log burner, if it's MCS approved, you may qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive. The RHI Kw to pence rate has dropped off a bit in recent years, I think it's about 8p per Kw but easily checked on the OFGEM website. It may not sound a lot but it does add up over the seven years you can claim for.
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sniper 55
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Re: Buying woodland.

Post by sniper 55 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm

Briggs 2.0 wrote:I ran my previous home on biomass sourced from my woodland to provide all heating and hot water so I've been down the road you're thinking of taking. I was using approximately four tons of wood fuel per annum via a 20Kw burner. From my 7 acres of mixed coniferous and native broadleaf, only about a third of a ton (or approximately one log load) came from coppicing my established Hazel. The rest came from clearing out mature fir and larch. (I do have a felling licence).

In my opinion, and I'm sure you're already thinking this way, the best guestimate is to total up the amount of wood you currently use in your range and keep that figure in mind when you look for your woodland. Only when you look at a woodland will you be able to work out what is already established and harvestable, and what potential there is for you to plant new and harvest.

There are so many factors to consider, for example, what is the Kw output of your range? How efficient is your range? How dry is your wood fuel? What is the calorific value of your chosen wood fuel? The last question is one I found very interesting, experimenting with mixes to get the most efficient burn.

You can get the calorific values from the FC website and most biomass fuel suppliers.

If you're planning on coppicing rather than felling, as Brambles said, it's Hazel and Willow that I'd recommend.
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Wood cutter
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Re: Buying woodland.

Post by Wood cutter » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:57 pm

Thanks again Briggs.

I've played with a few numbers, and no matter how I looked at it, it's never going to make sense financially. For a start, we currently only have a tiny piece of woodland (more like a few trees at the bottom of the garden really, totalling a bit less than an acre). I've been looking at woodland for sale; I actually went to see a piece of land yesterday, and they want 65k for it. Unless I live to be 300years old I can't see me making back the money in saved bills.

Having said that, the reasoning behind the idea isn't financially motivated, much more of a lifestyle choice. What could be more fun than tending to your own private woodland, and being able to justify all the toys that could go with it (chainsaws, a tractor, a log cabin), whilst at the same time being completely self sufficient for heating, cooking and hot water?

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Briggs 2.0
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Re: Buying woodland.

Post by Briggs 2.0 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:41 pm

Wood cutter wrote:Thanks again Briggs.

I've played with a few numbers, and no matter how I looked at it, it's never going to make sense financially. For a start, we currently only have a tiny piece of woodland (more like a few trees at the bottom of the garden really, totalling a bit less than an acre). I've been looking at woodland for sale; I actually went to see a piece of land yesterday, and they want 65k for it. Unless I live to be 300years old I can't see me making back the money in saved bills.

Having said that, the reasoning behind the idea isn't financially motivated, much more of a lifestyle choice. What could be more fun than tending to your own private woodland, and being able to justify all the toys that could go with it (chainsaws, a tractor, a log cabin), whilst at the same time being completely self sufficient for heating, cooking and hot water?
I really hope you don't give up this idea because if you can afford the purchase, you'll experience so many unforeseen bonuses, it's not all about finances. My wife and I describe going to the woodland as our dose of 'blue and green', blue skies and green leaves. I've heard others describe their woodland as nature's prozac. This may sound daft but I've never had more pleasure than putting up bird boxes and watching them through the seasons, hoping that over-wintering birds, actually get a nest going. It took three years for me to become the 'grandfather' of a brood of nuthatches and I actually got to see the young ones fledge. It's priceless. We had a Pied Fly Catcher nest up one year, it's better than watching TV. There's so much to do and learn, we happened to pile up the thin upper branches of fir trees around a few oaks to tidy things up and we were amazed to find that within days they were populated by wrens and small rodents. Small rodents mean weasels and stoats, and owls. In six years, we've gone from no owls, to being surrounded by them. Seriously, you will not need a TV anymore, you'll be buying night vision kit instead.

Back to financials because that's reality, eh? We bought ours because we figured it's a fallback. If one of us popped off, the other could liquidate the woodland and be financially secure.

Plus, you get free logs!

Briggs.
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