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Ashwells Reclaimed Timber

4th November 2020
Pile of Greenheart timber reclaimed by Ashwells

Greenheart timber reclaimed by Ashwells, Woolwich Ferry

Ashwells Reclaimed Timber is committed to saving tropical timber and enabling a more sustainable built environment. The Essex-based business works with architects and designers across the UK, helping them to achieve sustainability goals by increasing the use of reclaimed hardwoods within projects.

As a timber reclamation specialist, Ashwells has built its business over the past 30 years with one mission in mind: to save tropical timber for future generations.  Its timber mill in Bulphan, Thurrock is an Aladdin’s Cave of hardwoods, from 2.6-meter Jarrah sleepers reclaimed from Network Rail to 12-meter Greenheart marine piles reclaimed from the Woolwich Ferry refurbishment.

Ashwells has saved more than 2,500 rainforest trees from landfill and helped clients to save more than 500 tonnes CO2e annually.

Reclaimed Timber Products

Responsible architects, engineers and designers choose reclaimed FSC® certified hardwood because they want to increase sustainable design best practice. One such shining example is the award winning Back to Nature garden (pictured), designed by Davies White in collaboration with HRH Duchess of Cambridge. The garden – first showcased at RHS Chelsea 2019 and now permanently housed at RHS Wisley – features a winding wooden walkway built using durable FSC® certified Keruing timbers, reclaimed and repurposed by Ashwells from the pier at Southend on Sea.

Why Hardwood Reclamation?

Reclaimed timber transformed into walkway in an award winning garden at RHS Wisely

Back To Nature Walkway, RHS Wisely

Historically, tropical hardwoods such as Greenheart, Jarrah, Ekki and Keuring were imported into the UK from Africa, Australia, Central America, and British Guyana, for use primarily in marine construction. Much is still in use today up and down the Thames Estuary.

Due to the climate tropical hardwoods grow in, the grain is extremely dense giving it unmatched durability and stability.  When cut, these woods display all the vibrant yellow and orange colours of the tropics.

Supporting a circular construction economy

Today, Ashwells work with many organisations, including Civil and Marine Engineers along the Thames Estuary, coastal shorelines, and inland waterways to reclaim these timbers and repurpose them for future use in an FSC® certified process; this prevents further deforestation, saves energy, and protects architectural history.

It is a crime for anyone to throw away, burn, compost or recycle reusable timber (EU Waste Framework Directive 2008, UK Waste Regulations 2011) for which there is a market, and so Ashwells specialist reclamation service removes unwanted timber, and re-purposes it so it can be used once again.

As an FSC® certified reclaimed timber supplier, Ashwells provides a transparent and traceable chain of custody for all its hardwood and softwood timber products, whatever the source.

Janine Davies Tutt, Managing Director of Ashwells Reclaimed Timber says: “The tropical timber we reclaim from coastal defences, river and inland waters across the UK would first have been felled in the rainforest many years ago, before being imported into the UK as virgin sections. Too often tropical timber such as this is sent to landfill, burnt or wood chipped.  However, by reclaiming and repurposing the timber we are saving valuable resources and supporting the circular construction economy. We’re positive about the improvements we’re seeing in the sustainable treatment of waste, and sustainable design – and continue to work hard to help save tropical timber for generations to come.”

Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy, comments: “Reclaiming timber and re-purposing it is a beautiful example of good green growth. We are delighted to welcome Ashwells to our Estuary Visionary project. They join other businesses across the Estuary who endorse the ethos of our Blue Green vision.”

To find out more visit

Ashwells Timber Logo

If you would like to nominate your organisation or one you know to become a Visionary please get in touch.