Northumberland couple put the environment first with new charcoal venture
Charcoal burners Nathalie and Kezz Petronelli-Stone have demonstrated their eco-credentials with their latest venture.
The husband and wife team behind Lindisfarne & Northumbria Charcoal have been making charcoal using traditional ring kilns in the woods at their base near Chatton for 12 years.
However, they have just purchased a charcoal retort to further lower their emissions output and increase production.
In retorts, unlike traditional charcoal burning, the wood to be charred is isolated in an airtight vessel, and heated from a separate fire. It saves fuel and is much cleaner in terms of smoke emissions.
Kezz said: “We’ve long thought about it, but there’s a romance about the old method which is hard to move on from.
"Having sold our firewood business last year we felt the time was right to put more into this.”
Kezz and Nathalie, who also own Northumbria Forestry, have carved out a niche for themselves restoring native woodlands in the area and developing new ones using the rewilding method.
"We always try to put the land first, if it takes a little longer then so be it, but we simply won’t go putting machines on fragile woodland floors creating more damage to be repaired later,” said Nathalie.
"We use a range of methods, we still hand cut with chainsaws and have a team of highly skilled cutters to call upon. We use everything form forestry adapted excavators and tractors to quad bikes or our friend Ed Swales with his horse, depends upon the job.
"We also work closely with Bellingham based Hunter Harvesting for larger jobs.”
Belford born and bred, Nathalie has spent the last 20 years working as a model while Kezz, originally from Chelsea, had been travelling the world as a session musician for touring and recording bands since leaving school.
"We haven’t completely left our previous lives behind,” Kezz explained. “We have just built a recording studio (The Smoke House Studio) and accommodation for others to hire, this is an amazing area from which to take inspiration, I may even get back into playing and writing a bit too, but first I need to get this thing singing!”