To visit the Gardens, House & Gallery, please book a ticket online before you arrive. The Stables, Plant Centre & Caffè + Gelato are free to enter. Summer Late openings take place every Wednesday evening (except 30th June, 22nd September)
1) Wooden supports are placed at the base of the kiln to act as vents to allow some air into the middle of the kiln to help the fire to ignite.2) Shredded paper is then put in the middle along with some old charcoal. This is where the fire will be lit. The first layer of wood known as ‘bridges’ are placed on top of the supports. 3) Over the top of this we place our sacrifice layer which is very dry brash (the dead lower branches of trees) which helps the fire get going inside the kiln. 4) Wood is then laid horizontally in layers tightly so we can maximise the amount of wood in the kiln and produce the most charcoal. 5) To light the kiln a rag tied to the end of a pole is pushed through the vent to the centre of the kiln. The lid of the kiln is kept ajar by a branch to help air flow and provide enough oxygen to get the fire going. 6) Once the fire is burning the lid is dropped down. Sand is used along the edges of the kiln lid to help seal the rim and stop air getting in. 7) Around the outside of the kiln are 8 vents. 4 of these vents have chimneys inserted into them to allow smoke to come out, whilst the base of them is blocked by a brick. The other 4 are left open to allow air in. Halfway through the process the chimneys are swapped around to ensure an even burn. 8) The burn takes around 12-14 hours and needs to be manned throughout. Once the smoke has turned completely clear, the chimneys are removed and all the vents are sealed up with sand. 9) The kiln is then left to cool for a few days before being emptied and the charcoal bagged up ready to be sold in our shop. If you're planning a summer barbecue, buy your charcoal from our shop. We have plenty in stock and we can do deals on bulk buys. On your next visit to Hestercombe, don't forget to visit the Charcoal Burner's Camp in the Landscape Garden.