Collecting free and cheap firewood near me
If your looking to collect free and cheap Firewood, this article is for you. First, I’ll get the bad news out of the way for those in Britain. There are few places you can legally scavenge wood from in the UK. So, if you’re looking for the quick answer to ‘Can I collect this wood?’ The answer for people in the UK is likely ‘No’.
However, all is not lost! There are a few ways to scavenge your free wood, and it’s down to common sense. You can also get cheap Firewood delivered from a highly reviewed, nationwide service the next day.
Why do I need to collect Firewood or find cheap Firewood near me?
There’s nothing better than cooking on an open fire or warming your feet by the log burner. The taste of the outdoors is something that just cannot be replicated in a kitchen. From baked potatoes to slow-roasted chicken, the smokey flavour is irresistible. I always seek cheap fuel for my outdoor fire and log burner. Firewood is relatively expensive in Britain, so collecting free Firewood is a bonus.
Collecting free & cheap Firewood in Britain? The laws
In the United Kingdom, you must seek the land owner’s permission to collect Firewood off their land. All Firewood belongs to the landowner, and someone owns the majority of land in the UK. Taking wood without consent is considered theft.
Before you go out and collect free Firewood that you see lying around, there are some rules and regulations to observe in the UK. We will cover some common scenarios where you may find abandoned wood.
Common sense always accounts for something in situations like this. Look for the nearest property and ask who the wood belongs to. If they have left it on someone’s land for a week or more, they will likely be happy to have someone remove the felled wood.
Collecting and removing free Firewood from British woodland, is it legal?
No, removing wood from Woodland Trust areas in Britain is not legal.
If you’ve seen a pile of wood in your local wooded area that looks free for the taking, think again. Fallen trees and stacks of wood can be a home to insects and animals called ‘Deadwood Habitats’ (1).
If a tree has been felled and left or processed into a wood pile, it will likely offer a habitat for some local wildlife. Removing any of this wood could damage ongoing conservation projects or an animal’s home.
If you need more Firewood, you should always find another way to source it besides taking it from a Woodland Trust area.
You can find common land to collect free Firewood or buy cheap Firewood from a retailer.
Can I scavenge free Firewood from common lands?
Yes, it is OK to scavenge wood from common lands in the United Kingdom. Doing so is legally called ‘estovers’ rights. However, the amount of ‘Common Land’ in Britain is minimal as the majority of land in Britain belongs to the Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust, making it hard to exercise your ‘Estovers’ right.
Is it legal to collect felled Firewood from around your local area?
Yes, if you have permission from the landowner. If you do not have permission, taking the wood could be considered theft under British law. If your cant physically find the land owner, you can always turn to the internet or land registry to aid in your search. For some handy tips on finding land owners check out this guide.
You can also look for common land to collect free Firewood or buy cheap Firewood online.
Can I collect free Firewood from the roadside in Britain?
No, whoever owns the land, like a farmer, land owner or property developer, will own the roadside. If not these, then it will be owned by a governmental body. It would be better sourced from somewhere else to avoid any issues with collecting wood from the roadside.
Although it is expensive, buying Firewood is better than risking an accusation of theft and the hassle that goes with it. Local wood merchants will be cheaper than high street shops.
How do I cut, split and stack Firewood for drying?
After felling, you should store green wood, stacking the wood in a shed or wood shelter. Make sure air can get around all areas of the logs. Fully seasoned logs will take two years to dry. After this time, the moisture content drops below 20%, ideal for burning.
How to dry wood
To help the drying process, you should cut and split the logs into quarters. To do this, you will need an axe, energy and technique. Swinging an axe is dangerous; therefore, If you have not used one before, try to find someone who has to teach you.
How long does wood take to dry?
Fully seasoned firewood will take from 6 months to 1 year to dry. After this amount of time, the moisture content drops below 20 percent which is ideal for burning.
To process wood into firewood, follow these steps:
- Collect your free Firewood or buy some cheap firewood
- Cut the wood logs into lengths of equal size, 1 ft to 2ft is a good size.
- Split the logs in half, then quarters and then to eigths, this is a good size for drying firewood
- Once split, stack your firewood in a shed or woodstore. It needs to be dry with no damp
- Fresh wood will take from six months to a year to cure properly depending if its softwood or hardwood.
How to stack your free Firewood
To stack the Firewood you collected effectively, it must be off the ground in a well-ventilated & dry area. It also needs to be somewhere the Firewood can be left from 6 months to 1 year for the curing process.
If you have a fire in your garden area or a wood burning stove, you can always help speed up the drying process by stacking the wood near the fire. The heat will force the moisture out of the wood quickly, reducing drying time. You aim for less than 20 percent moisture for the wood to burn correctly.
If the wood has a moisture content above 20 percent, it will smoke and spit due to its sap content. Green or fresh logs also give out next to no heat which means you’ll be waiting a long time for your marshmallows.
How long does it take to dry logs for Firewood?
It takes at least six months to get most logs to a moisture level that will burn OK. For fully seasoned logs, you’re looking at one year. There are ways to speed this up, like kiln dried firewood or stacking next to a warm place like a fire or BBQ.
What are kiln dried logs or firewood?
If you see firewood for sale that has been kiln dries, it means the wood has been placed in a ‘kiln’ and heated up to dry the wood. This process takes the wood down to 20 percent moisture or less in no time at all. This is a process that is commercialised therefore kiln dried logs and firwood are usually readily available locally. You can even buy cheap kiln dried firewood online.
Kiln dried hardwood logs are the best for burning time and heat produced at a steady temperature. Some examples of trees that produce good hardwood logs are:
- Ash trees
- Hazel trees
- Oak trees
Can I dry firewood logs quickly?
Yes, you can dry your logs more quickly! You will need a kiln or an equivalent for this process. You can buy a kiln. Buying and maintaining a kiln is a costly undertaking. Therefore, acquiring free wood to keep it as cheap as possible becomes pointless.
Stacking it next to your garden fire is the best way to dry your wood more effectively. If you don’t have one, you could always build a temporary one to help dry your logs.
How to tell your logs of Firewood are ready.
You can tell your wood is good and ready by touch, sound and how well it burns. It will feel warm and dry, not cold and damp. Knocking on the wood will sound hollow when it’s dry, like knocking on the door. If the above two are true, it will likely pass the final test.
Take one of your quartered logs and start a small fire using the piece of newly seasoned wood. If the wood doesn’t smoke or sizzle, your Firewood is ready for burning. Keep it stored in a dry, well-ventilated place and enjoy your fire!
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