Blackmore Vale Magazine - July 2002.
There are many by products from Jim Bettle's Dorset Charcoal Company. He makes charcoal for art shops and he supplied charcoal to the Evercreech company Rose of Jericho, which was used in the mortar made for the restoration of Windsor Castle. One of his most recent contracts however, is to supply charcoal to the Poole-based natural cosmetics company, Lush, who use it in one of their new soap ranges which are sold around the world.
"Apparently it's very good for exfoliation", explains Jim, who has used the soap and assures me that It does get rid of the charcoal after a busy day's firing.
The distinctive brown bags with their black Dorset Charcoal Company logo are also becoming a familiar sight around the county now, stacked outside garages, ironmongers ,and garden centres – indeed anywhere we once saw cheap, foreign imports. Jim has just been awarded the contract to supply Scatts Country Stores which is a very substantial order for a company with its head office currently set up in a small clearing in a wood above Turnworth.
When Jim set up the company he was producing 7.5 tonnes of charcoal a year- he is now producing 25 between February and October- when the weather is fit.
Jim is very involved with the Dorset Coppice Group which is in the process of establishing a co-operative in order to apply for some of the recently awarded European Leader funding. With funding a Dorset woodland brand can be established to highlight the benefits of locally produced products.
Written by: Fiona Weaver