Having a barbecue this weekend? Read this first

For once it's more about the charcoal that cooks the food rather than the ingredients Photo: PA

As the sun continues to shine it's perfect weather for a barbecue but have you ever considered where your charcoal comes from? More than 90% of the charcoal bought in the UK is imported from overseas, much of it from environmentally sensitive areas like rainforests.

The charcoal kiln burns for 16 hours Credit: ITV News West Country

Pete and Anna Grugeon run their own business, the Bulworthy Project, at Rackenford in Devon, making charcoal from their own sustainably managed woodland. Each full kiln, loaded with a mixture of hardwoods like birch, beech, alder and hornbeam, yields about 70 bags of charcoal.

British hardwood is extremely good for making charcoal. It's the right density. It's not as dense as rainforest charcoals like mahogany or teak, which make a very hard-to-light charcoal.

Good quality British charcoal should take 10 or 15 minutes to light and heat up and it can be lit with just screwed up paper underneath it. You don't need firelighters, you don't need a lighting fluid.

– PETE GRUGEON, Charcoal maker.
The lid of the kiln is sealed with sand Credit: ITV News West Country

They gave up their jobs in Bristol to start a new life in the woods, living close to nature. They forage for wild food and grow their own vegetables, heating their caravan, a temporary home while they build their own house, by burning wood and they cook over charcoal. They rely on solar and wind power for their electricity.

This is incredibly rewarding, to run our own business, to achieve stuff through our own efforts. Yeah we wouldn't change, we'll be here for ever.

– ANNA GRUGEON, Charcoal maker
ITV News cameraman Jon Leach is lost in the smoke as he films the burning kiln Credit: ITV News West Country

They produce about 3,000 bags of charcoal a year and sell it through local shops and on the internet. But it's not just about their own business - they also run courses to teach other people how to make charcoal.

Watch the full report by Bob Cruwys here: