£19,432.50 FUNDED

Treworder Kiln Dried Logs

JA and CA Davis

To purchase a Firewood Processing Plant, enabling lumber to be processed on site to produce Kiln Dried Logs

Successful diversification of a farm

Many homes in Cornwall favour using a wood-burning stove to stay cosy, and it is an efficient way to heat your home. Burning kiln-dried logs is more efficient as they have lower moisture content and require less energy to burn, so more energy is converted into heat. It also prevents soot and tar build-up, with virtually no smoke.

Hugh Davis, a farmer from Treworder Barton, Wadebridge, spotted an opportunity to diversify his farm business by installing a bio-mass boiler to fuel a kiln, using local timber to produce kiln-dried logs. The boiler is fuelled almost entirely from the waste wood chippings, and the heat produced is used by the kiln for the drying, to ensure each log has an average moisture content of 20%. Hugh named the company Wildwood Fuel and, so far, demand has exceeded supply.

Hugh also had the foresight to recognise that there would be a shortage of timber in the UK, with fewer trees being planted than were being felled. In 2014, Hugh planted 35-40 acres of eucalyptus trees with the help of a Forestry Commission grant. Eucalyptus is a fast-growing species, and the project was so successful it was recognised by a 2nd-place award in the Royal Forestry Society’s Woodlands for Climate Change Awards. Hugh said: “I looked at the markets and felt that, especially here in the South West, there would be a shortage in wood to supply, coupled with the growing bio- and wood-fuel markets which are being driven by the renewable heat incentive. I felt that nobody was really seriously looking at the home-grown supply issue.”

LEADER funding helps to bolster local economy
Before drying, the wood needs to be processed to the correct size, and Hugh needed a top-of-the-range processing machine. This is where the LEADER project helped, providing a grant through the Atlantic and Moor Local Action Group to enable Hugh to take the next step of the journey.

Wildwood is the main supplier of wood to Kernow Fires in both their Wadebridge and Redruth stores, which means all wood supplied to their customers in Cornwall is locally sourced. Prior to buying from Wildwood, Kernow Fires sourced their wood from outside the county. Hugh said: “Kernow Fires were buying their wood from Herefordshire, so we are cutting down on carbon miles and the money is being pumped back into the Cornish economy instead of going out of the county.”

Hugh now plans to supply Cornish restaurants with regular deliveries to increase the reach of the brand. A new website is planned with further expansion around the corner. The equipment secured with LEADER funding has proved to be a key driver in helping the business to expand and, with such high demand, it is going from strength to strength.

Customers can purchase Wildwood logs from Kernow Fires or place telephone orders through Wildwood Fuel: 0300 303 4963.

Key documents