Charcoal Hearths

Charcoal hearths exist in large, essentially uncounted, numbers in Ecclesall Woods. At least 300 have been identified. They are harder to see than Q-pits, as they consist of a flattish oval with a small rim on the uphill side and a small dip on the downhill side. They are 6-10 m ovals. If you pick up soil from a hearth, there will be small pieces of charcoal visible in the earth. There is a fairly visible hearth next to the wood-collier's memorial in Wood 2. Charcoal hearths were intensively used for several centuries. Read how they were used (pointer to charcoal burning article)

One of the best, and most easily accessible, descriptions of charcoal burning and the colliers who worked it is in "Swallows and Amazons" by Arthur Ransome.

Credits

Pictures of stack under construction and finished, and of the collier's gravestone, courtesy of Prof. Melvyn Jones and Bob Warburton, author and illustrator of Sheffield's Woodland Heritage, 4th Edition, Wildtrack Publishing, 2009. Cord of wood; thanks to www.michigan.gov
Burning charcoal stack: thanks to sophieneville.net

Words: Linda Evans
Design: Jimmy's Garden Services

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