Husband and wife team Max and Jo Bayles have recently used Greater Dartmoor Local Enterprise Action Fund money to grow their innovative Dartmoor timber business. The £22,000 awarded by GD LEAF bought equipment vital to increasing production efficiency, which will ultimately increase sales of Moorwood’s kiln dried wood and secure 1.5 full time equivalent jobs for the business .The improvements have also contributed to an innovative circular, self sustaining site that sees waste from timber felling being used to create the better burning kiln dried logs.
The funding from GD LEAF bought a cone splitter, an excavator and improvements to the production area all of which have decreased the manual workload, increased productivity and enabled expansion of the business. The Bayles innovation is in their holistic approach, each aspect of the business supports another. Exemplifying this, in polytunnels on the site of Moorwood, the Bayles grow eucalyptus which is supplied to zoos across Europe and in the UK, as fodder for Koalas. As Koalas require some of the more tender varieties of eucalyptus, the plants need to be grown in polytunnels which are heated for frost protection. So, enterprising Max and Jo take bi-products from their tree felling business to create wood chip. The wood chip fuels a biomass boiler which heats a kiln to dry their logs as well heating both the site and the polytunnels.
For Max and Jo, they are particularly proud that in Moorwood Timber they have created an environmentally and financially sustainable model that will create employment for the local area and help to boost Dartmoor’s economy. “I hate to see a single pound leave the business, each pound needs to be reinvested, replanted, or recycled” explains Max, “for some the waste from the timber business is useless, but by investing in biomass we have created a way to make out waste an incredibly powerful tool that distinguishes our products from others in the market. When we applied to the Greater Dartmoor LEAF programme it was the only funding available for forestry businesses. Without the money we received we wouldn’t have been able to move forward as quickly as we have.” continues Max, “The money made massive practical differences to the running of the business. Moorwood Timber is not fully functional and thriving. The multiple revenue streams which Moorwood is now achieving has been made possible by the funding and will hopefully enable us to build a permanent home on site.”