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  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
  • Historical Sonvico Nature Trail

Theme Trails – The Historical Sonvico Nature Trail

Stage 18: The earth kiln for charcoal production

Walking in the woods we come across many oval open spaces. These are man-made for the production of charcoal. This activity was still in use up to World War II and later swiftly abandoned.

There was much interest in the production of charcoal because it made easier and lighter the transport of wood from distant places, and for commercial expediency. Charcoal consumption was very high especially for domestic use: braziers, warmers and flatirons used the charcoal in a more efficient way and less smoke was produced. To obtain charcoal, it is necessary to burn the wood at a very high temperature with the lowest possible amount of oxygen.

The charcoal-burner built a chimney in the centre of the clamp. It was a hollow vertical structure, which was made for the igniting and control of the oxygen used for the combustion. Around it, the charcoal-burner arranged the cut and chopped wood to form a perfect dome-shaped wood stack. Then the construction had to be covered with turf and earth to stop air from entering. The stack was then set alight from the central chimney and the carbonation controlled by making holes in several places so that the volatile substances, produced by the combustion, could leak out.

One week or more from the lighting, the charcoal was ready to be sold. Usually it was the women who went to collect it since in the rural world they often had the hard task of transporting the heaviest and most varied loads. It is still easy to find small pieces of charcoal around the clamps.

  1. Related Excursions

    The Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
    Stage 1: Well and "Riaron"
    Stage 2: House of Reason
    Stage 3: Graad
    Stage 4: Cassinel
    Stage 5: The mixed broadleaf woods
    Stage 6: Geological oddities
    Stage 7: Mill and bridge
    Stage 8: The glade in the wood
    Stage 9: The torrent Franscinone
    Stage 10: Wash-house
    Stage 11: The birds of the wood
    Stage 12: The eroded valley of the Franscinone
    Stage 12: Water and energy
    Stage 13: The edge of the flood-level wood
    Stage 14: Dairy farm for the processing of milk
    Stage 15: Lime-kiln
    Stage 16: The rural area
    Stage 17: The Humid area of Canéed
    Stage 19: Terracing
    Stage 20: Madonna d'Arla
    Stage 21: The Chestnut Wood of Pian Piret
    Stage 22: The Beechwood
    Stage 23: The Boulder with Engraved Cupels
    Stage 23: I Denti della Vecchia
    Stage 24: R’Alborón
    Stage 25: The Oratory of S. Martino
    Stage 26: The old center of Sonvico
    Stage 27: The Walnut Press
    Stage 28: The Church of Saint John the Baptist

  2. How to arrive

    The Luganese Regional Bus Line covers the Lugano – Sonvico stretch; from Val Colla you can reach Sonvico, using the postal bus from Tesserete to Sonvico.

    Journey by public transports!

  3. Signalization

    Sonvicosentierostorico Adesivo

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