Charcoal-making and woodland day

Learn how to make charcoal and practice woodland skills in our beautiful Loder Valley.

Charcoal-making at Wakehurst


19 September 2020


10am – 4pm 

Meet 10am at the Loder Valley entrance in Ardingly. Full details and a map will be sent to you via email before the event. 


Meet at the Loder Valley entrance in Ardingly.



Wakehurst and Kew members: £63

Includes garden entry and car parking

Adults only/18+

This full-day workshop in the heart of our woodland will provide you with the skills to understand timber selection, fire lighting and all the knowledge you need to run your own kiln.

Your day will be led by experienced Loder Valley Ranger, Steven Robinson, who has 25 years knowledge of crafting charcoal. The day’s activities will be based around a 6ft ring kiln along with smaller oil drum kilns, and you'll see the whole process in action.

Included in your day:

  • Timber selection
  • Site location
  • Loading and firing the kiln
  • Shutting the kiln down
  • Preparing artist charcoal and placing in the kiln
  • Unloading, grading and bagging charcoal
  • Looking at our woodland archeology, discovering old saw pits and charcoal-burning sites

Fire-lighting techniques:  

  • Flint and steel
  • Feather sticks
  • Ferro road and striker
  • Sundance solar fire starter
  • We will also look at tinder material, fire preparation and charcloth making.

Important information

  • Bring food to cook on the fire or barbeque
  • Dress for the weather as you will be outside all day – long sleeves, trousers and fully enclosed shoes
  • The day will be spent in the woods based around a campfire for heating and cooking
  • Please note there are no toilet facilities in the woods


Please note, the terrain you will encounter is undulating and steep in places and it's not suitable for wheelchairs. Please contact us directly if you may have difficulty with accessibility.


COVID-19 (coronavirus) notice

You can book with confidence for our many Wakehurst workshops. Come along knowing that the safety and wellbeing of our visitors is of the upmost importance to us. We are continually monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic situation as it evolves.  

Current plans in place for the comfort and reassurance of our visitors include: 

  • Limited capacity to ensure social distancing
  • No shared equipment where possible
  • Additional cleaning of the venue
  • Sanitising stations are available

We will continue to review the situation and communicate any further updates with you.

If you are unable to attend because of government restrictions in place due to coronavirus, please contact the customer service desk at at the earliest opportunity to discuss further.