There was an interesting item on Radio 4 today about wood collection. It seems that with the increase of wood burning stoves in homes several nature reserves have been finding that timber thinnings and wind blown trees that have either been left to create insect habitats or for other ecological reason have been taken away by folk. Brush that has also been trimmed and sorted to pass on for donations have also been taken. It seems that any timber that has been felled or naturally fallen still belongs to the land owner. There are such things as common rights on common land but these are very few and far between. The Forestry Commission even sells firewood gathering rights occasional which go for about £120 a year it seems.
If that is the case I wonder who would be liable in this case?
In common with most folks I pick up bits of wood I pass that will burn on the stove but as I am not currently aboard over winter I do not do it wholesale. It looks like C&RT have a very pragmatic attitude to wood gathering as when they have carried work in on their tow paths etc they seem to leave the resultant logs in an accessible position, in a manageable size to assist in the passing boater to take it away making a saving in transport for disposal.
Of course I like something for nothing as much as the next man but I do take care not to take away brush left for the building of habitats or partial rotten logs knowing their value to wildlife. I see that you can buy logs in nets but this seems expensive when you may have been used to having it free. Do the fuel boats carry logs in nets? Could there be an opening for a trading boat filling with logs only and moving up the canal selling them. I'm not sure what the margins would be though. If you bought logs you would expect them to be seasoned of good quality which may make running and maintenance stoves safer and easier.
How about if groups of boaters got together and ordered a full lorry load of logs to be delivered at a spot where they could be quickly transferred to the roofs of their boats. It would be a good excuse for getting together and a few drinks afterwards wouldn't it. Meanwhile please be thoughtful when you are timber hunting this winter.
A well built log pile.
Out of season lap lander.