Most people find a wood stove to be a great comfort on a cold night – the cat certainly does ( if it is not yet lit, he sits in front of it and glares at us). I get even greater comfort if I have obtained the wood for free and so far have managed to get free wood for the last 30 years. It has not been hard to find and much of that wood would just have been burnt on bonfires had I not asked for it – a lot of wood has even arrived by wheelbarrow from neighbours.
Of course, burning scrap wood does require a lot of storage space and a suitable chimney - so is not practical for everyone, but flats can be served by communal wood chip boilers. I have helped with scrub clearance and coppicing at two nature reserves this year and piles of useful wood is just being burnt in the open. It seems to me that there is huge potential for growing wood locally for fuel, it is a carbon sink, home for wildlife and provides local resilience and employment. In the 19th century the gathering of firewood from hedgerows was an important privilege, it is about time we started coppicing all those trees planted alongside most new roads, instead of just chipping the trimmings.
I currently have two wood burners and have owned one previously, plus a multi fuel boiler, I’m happy to pass on advice to anyone thinking of getting one.