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Collecting your own wood in the UK


14 Nov 2008
On a mountain in the Highlands of Scotland

After buying another bunch of Redmoor wood (does this actually come from the Redmoor area?) and drooling over the stuff Tom Barr finds by the truckload in the US I got wondering what and where should we be looking for when collecting wood ourselves in the UK?

I've seen the video of George or Dan (i can't remember) diving in a lake for "massive wood" and i've collected dead heather wood for nanos with success. Obviously the draw back is getting the wrong type of wood, too alive, rotten, poisonous, saltly and doing bad things to your tank.

Long time waterlogged wood i presume is better due to it being dead in an anaerobic (without oxygen) environment. There by preventing it from rotting and leaching out the tannins before it goes into a tank. This would be the same for wood found in peat bogs. We know that drift wood can be used but stuff straight from the beach can contain salts and other toxins so would need alot of soaking and boiling before use.

But where? what types of wood? where can we find those lovely mazi style branches just waiting to be collected locally. I'm in scotland for gods sake this stuff should be all around me in these rivers and forests 🙂

Thanks in advance!

Best Regards,
Hi all,
I'm in scotland for gods sake this stuff should be all around me in these rivers and forests 🙂
You should be able to collect plenty of dead wood. Oaks are always good, have a scout around for any oak trees, and visit them after you have had a gale or severe frost. Any drift wood from reasonably clean rivers is fine, and roots are particularly good and rot resistant. Some conifers are OK as well, Douglas Fir or Yew are very good, as long as it has been dead for a while.
Another possibility is if they have been doing either forestry or ditching work on any peaty soil, I've seen enough "bog Oak" (probably sub-fossil scots pine) to last a life time discarded by the road side in W. Ireland. Old Scots pine is fine as well, as long as it doesn't smell too "resiny", and there was some fantastic looking bits of dead Juniper (on Porton Down, so out of bounds), but you might be able to find some?.

I usually collect any dead wood I like the look of without worrying too much about what type it is, and then soak it until I need it in the garden pond (although a water filled dust bin would do).

cheers Darrel
I feel the same as dw, I collect wood, shape it, cut it, remove bark, keep bark on, sand it etc, then I soak it in my water butt for about 6 weeks.
If you want to keep the bark then you need a different approach & after cutting to size etc, you will need to coat the wood with epoxy resin.