A very special event took place once again this year in the small community of Dachsberg in the southern Black Forest: the Dachsberger Charcoal Pile Festival. The charcoal pile at the forest sports ground in the district of Wolpadingen smoked from the 25th July to the 9th August 2009, and a great deal of entertainment was on offer at the same time.
The Markgräfler Bergturnfest gymnastic festival and the jubilee weekend of the Dachsberg traditional costume band with its regional music festival had already taken place on the first two weekends. The climax was the folklore day on Sunday the 9th of August with plenty of music, a national park market and demonstrations of old Black Forest handicraft trades. The charcoal pile will be opened on 21st/22nd August, and the charcoal offered for sale on 22nd August.
In the Dachsberg charcoal pile, charcoal is produced in the traditional manner from approximately 20 steres (cubic metres) of beechwood in approx. 4 weeks (2 weeks just for cooling). The charcoal stack is watched around the clock by the charburners during this time (the shelter can be seen on the left in the top picture, the charburner is clearing the smoke holes in the bottom picture). The charburners also enjoy answering visitors' questions and providing expert information about the composition of the charcoal pile and the history of charcoal burning in the Black Forest.
Charcoal burning was an important industry in the Black Forest for a long time. The charcoal was mainly required for ironworks and glass manufacture. Increasingly larger quantities were needed, which meant that vast areas of the Black Forest were bare and not covered by dense forest as they are today. Coal was increasingly used in industry from the 18th century, so that the trees grew back and the forest could recover.
Incidentally, the community of Dachsberg is set in a beautiful location on a plateau in the Hotzenwald Forest, the southernmost part of the Black Forest. Well-known places in the area include St. Blasien and Todtmoos. Lake Schluchsee, Lake Titisee and Feldberg Mountain are also not far away.