About Pondhead Charcoal


Pondhead charcoal is produced ethically in the New Forest using environmentally friendly kilns. These kilns burn the gases in their fire boxes which are given off during the charcoal making process (known as pyrolisation). This saves fuel and makes the process cleaner by not releasing these gases (methane, hydrogen, carbon monoxide) into the atmosphere. All the timber we use comes from our sustainably managed coppice woodland – mostly hazel and birch.

Coppicing is one of the oldest traditional methods of woodland management and it is known to improve woodland biodiversity. It involves cutting small trees down to the ground which rejuvinates the tree and encourages it to send up more new shoots. We are restoring a neglected coppice woodland by bringing it back into annual cutting rotations which encourage a greater diversity of flora and fauna. Cutting wood in this way lets in more light and opens up the woodland for flowers, insects, birds and small mammals.


At present over 90% of all charcoal consumed in UK is imported. Significant amounts are imported from endangered tropical rainforest and mangrove habitats of South America, West Africa and South East Asia. These are regions where damage has been caused by unsustainable forestry practices – one of the main causes of deforestation. Much of the imported product is made using inefficient methods which give rise to a low carbon content making it difficult to light and burn evenly without the aid of lighter fuel or firelighters. These accelerants also taint the flavour of your BBQ meal.

When charcoal burns it produces carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the main greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. However, if charcoal is produced from a sustainable source, this CO2 will be absorbed by new coppice growth and new trees that are planted. This results in a carbon neutral or carbon lean product. CO2 released from burning sustainable charcoal/wood products is roughly in line with that absorbed during the growth of the trees that produced it.

The CO2 emissions from most sustainable forms of woodfuel are estimated to be very much lower than emissions from fossil fuels (gas, oil, LPG and electric the majority of cases). Fossil fuels release new CO2 into the atmosphere which has been trapped deep in the earth for many thousands of years. These fossil fuels also create more greenhouse gases during the transportation of charcoal around the world. Unlike coal, gas and petroleum, charcoal is not a fossil fuel. Locally produced charcoal from sustainably managed woodlands makes environmental sense and can help restore some of our neglected woodlands.


Our premium quality charcoal has a high carbon content (over 90%) which makes it easy to light without the need for any accelerants – a sheet of newspaper is all that’s required. We recommend the use of a starter chimney (left) which is available from most garden centres and DIY stores. It’s easy to use, simply fill the top with charcoal and the base with paper, place on the BBQ charcoal grate and light the paper inside the unit. When the charcoal is glowing red within the chimney, tip it onto the BBQ grill and you’re ready to cook.

With Pondhead Charcoal you’ll be ready to cook in less than 10 minutes – no more waiting around for ages and dowsing it with lighter fuel! You’ll also find that you need less charcoal to cook your meal as it burns evenly. When cooking, place the hot charcoal on one half of the grill only as this will create hot and warm zones to prevent over cooking your BBQ feast. A BBQ with a lid is preferable as it retains heat and cooks more evenly.

Our charcoal is supplied in 3kg double lined thick paper bags which can be recycled. Buy local – it makes environmental sense. Shop here.

Pondhead Conservation Trust is a registered conservation charity and community woodland project run entirely by volunteers. By purchasing our charcoal you are helping conserve a unique area of the New Forest and helping the environment.