The covid story just rolls on with various levels of lock downs in place across the country. It looks like we must just have to get used to this, for the long haul.
Hopefully everybody is managing to stay safe. I'm sure we will remember these strange times for the rest of our lives. My Gen Z offspring are really struggling with the isolation aspects.
On a brighter note :), we are in the middle of our early season softwood sale at the moment and it is proving very successful with our customers, as we would expect. We are one of the few specialist softwood firewood suppliers in the UK.
We have been involved in the processing and sale of softwoods for over 10 years. We consider our two top softwood species; larch and pine, to be the best value firewood available.
As well as being excellent value (because of their premium burning properties and low pricing), they also have a better environmental profile than hardwoods.
This is because there is not enough hardwood growing in the UK to satisfy the burgeoning demand. This has resulted in huge quantities of hardwood being sucked into the UK from Eastern Europe with all the environmental damage associated with that.
In comparison, our softwoods are quick growing and in plentiful supply, growing in plantations very close (much coming from within 25 miles) to our processing facility. All supplies are procured from forestry operations that operate in strict accordance with the regulations.
Our cost savings on softwood firewoods don't just come from the reduced input purchase price, but also from processing savings.
UK hardwood can come into us looking literally like corkscrews (see the image) our mechanical processing really struggles with this. In contrast, the softwoods come into us nice and straight, so are quick to process.
If you haven't tried softwood yourself yet, you should give it a go, I predict you will get a pleasant surprise.
Now, I want to address the old wives tale about choking up flues, this is only the case if you burn softwoods when wet (as cold flue temperature allows the build up of creosote) Modern firewood drying methods and stoves ensure that the flue gases are hot, so creosote can't build up. See this informative wikipedia article discussing "Softwood Mythology"
We have been selling these firewoods for over 10 years and still have original customers burning softwood to this day, with no adverse reports.
Whilst researching for this article I found some very interesting data in relation to hardwood (broadleaves)v softwood (conifers) forest growing areas in UK. Also replanting areas. See the 2 tables below (source). Note that record large areas of forest are being planted: "Scotland Planting Record Area of Timber"
What this shows is that the proportion of UK growing softwoods is going up owing to their high planting rate in Scotland. I would suggest this further supports the movement to using these in your stove.