Forest Coal Pit?

Seems like an odd name for somewhere in a National Park. Especially as there has never been any coal mining in the valley.

The answer is simpler: “Forest Coal” is another name for what we now call charcoal. Before the discovery that coal could be roasted to make coke for iron-making, this area was heavily forested with Alders, which make excellent charcoal. The valley – and our farm – still has lots of charcoal platforms. These are about the size of a full-sized snooker table, and are just flat bits of land created on slopes, where the charcoal could be made, near to where the trees were felled.

We have a couple of them which still have a layer of charcoal beneath the soil, even though the practice died out in the 1700’s. See if you can spot them.

2 thoughts on “Forest Coal Pit?”

  1. Hi there Jackie,
    Ive been trying to find out why Forest Coal pit was named this so thank you! Where did you get this information from as I am trying to do some research into this forest and am curious about this charcoal from the alder. Would you know where I could find these charcoal areas in the woodlands or is it a treasure hunt to find the bedded charcoal?

    1. The only evidence of charcoal making now is the occasional flat area (approx 3m x 2m) – if you dig through the vegetation that has grown over then you may find dark coloured soil – so no charcoal is here now – just the mark in the soil where it was burnt.

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