Wood supplies in the Cairngorms National Park

Having a heating system run on wood relies on having a good supply available. Wood is cheapest when it's bought in bulk in longer lengths. Working individually or with others in processing your own firewood requires muscle power and storage space but can be rewarding as well as being excellent exercise!  Suppliers can provide you with either freshly harvested wood, which will need to be stored and seasoned before burning, or with wood already seasoned and cut to size.

Types of wood commonly found in the area

There are two categories of firewood - hardwood and softwood.  Hardwood generally refers to logs from deciduous trees such as oak, ash or beech, while evergreen conifers such as Scots pine and spruce are the source of softwood logs.

Seasoned hardwood logs generally burn for longer and cost in the region of £60 to £80 per tonne while softwood logs burn faster and are cheaper, costing around £60 per tonne.

Beware of buying water in the form of wet logs which have not had time to dry out. Freshly cut wood should be cheaper than seasoned firewood. Check out storage and seasoning to find out more.

The table below lists some commonly found trees in the Cairngorms National Park and information on using their wood as fuel.

Scots Pine Softwood, burns well when dry, can tend to spit and cause sparks.
Sitka Spruce

This extremely common species makes good softwood firewood for stoves, log boilers or chipping.

 Birch Very common in the Cairngorms National Park, grows well and makes excellent firewood.
Rowan Rowan, or mountain ash, makes good firewood, especially when seasoned for a long time. But burn it at your own risk - it's reputed to have supernatural qualities! 

Most woods will burn effectively in a modern woodburning stove or boiler system provided the logs are well seasoned.

If in doubt though remember this traditional rhyme might help you remember which wood to go for!

Beech wood fires are bright and clear,
If the logs are kept a year,

Chestnut's only good, they say,
If for long it's laid away.

Birch and fir logs burn too fast,
Blaze up bright and do not last.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
Even the very flames are cold.
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills you eyes and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room,
With an incense like perfume.
Oak and maple, if dry and old,
Keep away the winter cold.
But ash wood wet and ash wood dry,
A king shall warm his slippers by


11 December 2012

per kWHper Year
Woodfuel - Logs£0.023£690
Woodfuel - Pellets£0.052£1560
Woodfuel - Chips£0.026£780
Oil - Kerosene£0.07£2100
this is based on...

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