With your new fireplace or stove installed, the next thing you need to focus on is the type of wood you’re going to be burning. Not all wood is the same; knowing the different characteristics of wood will help you decide what is best, depending on if your fire is indoors or outdoors.

Different woods burn at different intensities and for different durations; this is because different woods are built up of different densities, with different levels of water retention. Woods with high densities and high moisture retention make for some of the worst firewood, as they provide little fuel for a fire to burn and burn at a very low intensity.

We’ve compiled a list of the very best woods to burn:

Very Good

  • Ash – A fitting name for one of the best-considered woods for burning. Ash is very densely packed, producing a long-lasting flame with a high heat output. Ash can even burn relatively effectively without being dried, making it perfect for damp conditions.
  • Beech – Burns in a similar way to Ash: with high heat and a long duration. The only major difference is that Beech won’t burn well unless it is completely dried.
  • Hawthorn – Similar again to Ash and Beech makes Hawthorn a traditional firewood which is a good all-round burner.
  • Rowan – The high density means it burns very slowly whilst producing good heat. An excellent wood type for indoor and outdoor fires.
  • Thorn – Renowned as one of the best woods for burning due to its long-lasting flame that produces high and steady heat as well as the low smoke output.
  • Yew – Popular for a very long burn time so users save on costs. Also produces a very high heat meaning it requires much fewer logs to heat your home.

Pearson fuels provide quality imported firewood and kiln dried logs ready to use.

Being able to light a fire from scratch is something we always associate as the ultimate measure of a man. But seeing as none of us have ever, or probably will ever, be in a position where we would need to light a fire using only the tools nature gifts us, it is a skill that has well and truly died out.

Knowing how to light a fire without matches is the ultimate survival skill. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where you’ll be required to light one. Being able to create fire with your bare hands is also just a great way to embrace that primal link between mankind and nature.

Friction Based Fire

If you’re ever prepared to try out this method, be warned, it’s going to take some serious determination, tireless hands, and a bucket-load of patience. There are different friction techniques you can use, each with varying difficulties and requiring various materials.

To make a friction fire your wood must be completely dry. If it isn’t dry, you’ll have to take the time to dry it first.

Hand Drill

  • To begin with, you need to prepare a tinder nest that will create the flame once you have a burning ember. Build your nest out of anything that catches fire easily, like dry leaves, grass and thin bark.
  • Your fireboard will need to have a long groove cut into the surface with a small depression adjacent to it.
  • You will need something underneath the notch to catch your embers from the friction. A piece of bark is the best thing you’ll find out in the wild.
  • Place the spindle into the depression of your fireboard. Having a spindle around 2 feet long will help it work better. Maintain pressure on the board and start rolling the spindle between your hands, running them quickly down the spindle. Keep going until an ember is formed.
  • Once you have created enough friction you will have a glowing ember, tap the fireboard to drop your ember onto the piece of bark underneath, then transfer this to your tinder pile and gently blow until you see flames.

Try out your new technique with some kiln dried firewood from Pearson Fuels coal merchants Stockport.

Cooking with fire, outside, with the sun shining, ignites something primal in most of us. Even some people who don’t like cooking love to stand around the BBQ with their apron tied and spatula in hand, flipping burgers and sausages whilst staring longingly into the flames.

BBQ has become an art form. Although you can get away with lighting a bag of pre-light coals and hoping for the best, most of us want more from our barbecue than a few singed sausages.

Knowing the best fuels for your BBQ is key to building that perfect cooking fire – but which should you use?


If you’re looking for a fuss free way to cook for family and friends, then gas is probably your best option. It is a fairly sterile choice compared to some other options, but it provides you with a convenient, controlled and clean way of cooking. You can increase or decrease heat at the turn of a dial and is far easier to clean than any other grill. Many of the pros and restaurants use gas for balancing time and quality.


Talk amongst die hard BBQ enthusiasts usually involves charcoal. Cooking over charcoal is the height of BBQ quality, producing a great taste, a fiery flare to cooking and an artistic element of fun.

Charcoal comes in two forms; Lumpwood and Briquette. Lumpwood is more natural but briquettes have more benefits, although they get a bad rep at times for being manufactured.

Briquettes burn at a slower and more uniform rate, so you can get your fire going easily, and cook for longer. Charcoal is for the chefs who like to get down and dirty and like to experiment. There are plenty of different ways to cook with charcoal, so find which way works for you.


It’s rare that a BBQ lover would use wood as the main fuel source when cooking outdoors. Whilst charcoal or gas can provide the heat, wood can help bring smoky seasonings and depth of flavour that is unparalleled.

Wood for fuel is a specialist’s area of BBQ cooking. If you like a low and slow cooking style, then cooking over an open campfire or fire pit is a unique culinary experience, but probably not great for every BBQ session.

Experiment with different fuels for cooking as well as heating with Pearson Fuels coal merchants Stockport.

If you’re deciding on installing a fireplace that burns coal or firewood, then there are a few things you need to check. Smoke Control areas exist around the country to prevent pollution through the burning of fossil fuels. These areas were implemented in an attempt to combat poor health brought about by the toxic fumes from home and industrial fires, in close proximity to neighbourhoods.

Many parts of the UK are now under these strict smoke control laws. If your home is in one of them, then you can’t emit smoke from a chimney unless you’re burning authorised fuels or using exempt appliances such as burners or stoves.

If you are found breaking these rules then you can be fined up to £1000, so knowing the rules – and the fuels that you are burning – are important if you wish to avoid the sting of a hefty fine.

How do I know if my home is in a smoke control zone?

To check if your home is located in a smoke control area, you simply have to contact your local council for clarification. The environmental services department will be able to help you with all enquiries regarding your home fireplace, and they can be contacted by phone, post, or by simply contacting them online.

What Fuels Can I Burn in a smoke control area?

Authorised fuels are organised separately in the countries of the UK. Lists for each country are available online; published by the corresponding council department in accordance with the Clean Air Act 1993.

Unless you are using an exempt appliance, the following ‘smokeless’ fuels are appropriate in smoke control areas:

  • Anthracite
  • Semi-anthracite
  • Gas
  • Low volatile steam coal

If you have a specially adapted fireplace, you can use oil or other liquid fuels. Kindling can sometimes be used but be sure to check with your council as there are different rules for different areas.

If you’re unsure about the fuels you are using, contact your local coal merchants for information on smokeless coal.

Central heating or lighting a fire in your fireplace is only part of the battle of heating your home in winter. If your home isn’t properly insulated, the heat you’re creating, and paying for, is easily lost. Some homeowners refuse to have their home insulated completely because of the cost, but the cost of not insulating may actually end up putting you out of pocket in the long term when those heating bills fall through your letterbox.

The truth is, well insulated walls, ceiling, floors and roofs will create a healthier home environment, reduce your energy bills and also have a positive environmental impact.

Healthy Living Space

In the darkest of winter, it can be a constant battle to keep your home warm. Installing proper insulation helps regulate the temperature, making your living environment much safer and more comfortable to relax in, especially when the barometer takes a plunge. Living in a cold home can cause health defects, so it is important to maintain a safe temperature at all times.

As well as heat, insulation can also help increase sound control by creating a barrier that keeps unwanted sounds out and protecting privacy. This barrier also works at keeping moisture from seeping into your home. This protects your possessions from mould damage, as well as other environmental pollutants and allergens.

Save money

Home insulation is an easy way of saving money on your household bills. Insulation makes your home much more energy efficient, as heat isn’t constantly escaping. Good insulation will also help keep your home cooler during the summer months – so you aren’t just feeling the benefits when it’s cold outside. With the drastic reduction in relying on heating and cooling appliances can lead to huge savings over the year.

Environmental Benefits

Having to run your heating constantly to keep your home at a bearable temperature puts a real strain on the environment. But by using less energy having to heat and cool your home reduces your carbon footprint and also reduces the amount of chemicals being released into the environment from air conditioning units.

Visit Pearson fuels coal merchants Manchester for the most environmentally friendly coal and fireplace accessories.



Millions of tonnes of coal are used all over the planet every year. This valuable resource isn’t man made, and the process in which it is created happened before any of us were even here – way before.

Coal formed millions of years ago when the earth was little more than swampy forests. Plants such as ferns, reeds and mosses grew abundantly. When they died, they fell into the swamp waters. New plants took their place before ultimately suffering the same fate. Over time, a layer of dead vegetation grew. When the surface of the earth changed, and dirt and water washed in, the decaying process was halted in its tracks.

Layers upon layer of vegetation built up, creating an incredible weight upon the bottom layers. Physical changes occurred in the plant layers as the intense pressure also caused intense heat, forcing out oxygen, and leaving rich carbon deposits. That material slowly developed into coal.

Coal is classified into three main types; lignite, bituminous coal and anthracite. The classifications are based on the amount of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen present in the coal. In the process of transformation, or coalification, peat is altered to lignite, lignite to sub-bituminous, sub-bituminous coal is altered to bituminous, and bituminous coal is altered to anthracite.

Lignite: Is used mainly for generating electricity. Lignite is the lowest ranked coal due to its low heating value and low carbon content. Although it is firmer than peat, shipping it long distances causes it to crumble. It can also be used to generate synthetic natural gas and to produce fertiliser products.

Bituminous: Sometimes called soft coal; this intermediately ranked coal is made up of many layers. It has a high heating value but suffers from a high sulphur content. Its major uses are in the cement, food, paper, automobile, textile and plastic industries, but is mainly used to produce electricity.

Anthracite: its high heating value and high carbon content makes anthracite the highest ranked coal available. It is very hard, a deep black, and looks almost metallic. Primarily used to heat homes as it produces less soot and dust than other coal types which is why it is referred to as smokeless coal.



Over the years a driveway suffers at the hands of mother nature and the weight of your vehicle which can lead to some pretty unsightly cracking. In fact not only can this ruin the aesthetic of your home exterior, it can be rather unsafe too. With this said, fixing a driveway crack can be a costly endeavour and in order to ensure that you make the right choice the team here at Hamilton Paving are going to weight up the options…

Patch Job

If the damage to your driveway is minor and you just want to prevent any further damage from occurring then you can opt for a patch work job. This involves filling cracks that are less than a quarter inch wide with a liquid filler. Whilst it may not look as good, the job can even be done yourself. Patching up driveway cracks is a great way to prolong the lifespan of your drive if you aren’t overly fussed about the aesthetics and how it looks.


Sometimes it can be more cost effective to look into resurfacing, especially if your driveway is requiring constant patching up. This process involves removing the very top layer of a driveway, the part that is damaged, and replacing it with new material. The finished product is a driveway that looks completely brand new but costs much less. This is beneficial for those who champion aesthetics however if you have problems with the foundation of the driveway then this option could backfire.


Driveways that are beyond patching and resurfacing have to be completely replaced. This involves completely removing the entire driveway and its foundation and starting from scratch with an entirely new design. After all, resurfacing will only hide the problems and patchwork will make the driveway look worse for wear. Driveway replacements can be costly so it is important to shop around and find an experienced and trustworthy contractor to do the job.

Here at Hamilton Paving we want to make sure that our readers make decisions based on their driveway and not the driveway that is being used as an example in an article. After all, every driveway is different. If you’re still unsure which method of treating driveway cracks is best for you, get in contact with the best driveways in Buckinghamshire today!