Here in Hampshire, the main hardwood species used for firewood are Ash, Beech, Silver Birch, Oak & Sycamore. Each species has its own individual merits. Ash is a good all round firewood and burns easily with little smoke. Contrary to popular belief, ‘green ash’ doesn’t burn at all well. It does have a naturally low moisture content, but needs further seasoning before burning. Beech is one of the finest woods to burn. It burns hot and for a long time. Beech has many uses, other than firewood; this means that it doesn’t appear on the firewood market as much as some would like.
Birch is a wonderful and often overlooked species. It’s a ‘pioneer’ species, seeding freely and improving soil quality for other trees and shrubs. It’s a good clean firewood and has a lovely scent when burned. Oak is a very dense wood and has a tendency to smoulder, rather than burn. Ideally, it’s best mixed with lighter woods, such as birch or sycamore. Allow plenty of airflow into your appliance, split the logs small and it will, once mastered, give a hot and long fire. Sycamore is another underrated firewood species. It grows quickly, splits easily and is relatively quick to season. It’s a good general all purpose firewood.