Shotley Pier: Reclaimed timber at heart of renovation

Reclaimed timber from Woolwich Ferry Terminal will take pride of place in the soon to be restored Shotley Pier – as the community raises European funds to ensure the historic landmark can be walked on once again

We’re thrilled to be providing a selection of FSC certified reclaimed Greenheart for the rebuilding of  the historic Shotley Pier as part of a 20 year coastal revival project.

Shotley Pier is a community owned pier, purchased by the Shotley Heritage Charitable Community Benefit Society (SHCCBS) in 2017 with the aim of saving the pier and regenerating it for the public use once again.  Following the incredible success of community fundraising efforts, including an investment of £144,864 from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Coastal Revival Fund which donated £50,000, construction is set to start on the 122-year-old pier and new designs for the Victorian structure.

A central feature of the refurbished pier, originally built in 1894 by the Marquis of Bristol and used to serve as the HMS Ganges naval training base, will be durable 17 metre Greenheart piles reclaimed from the Woolwhich Ferry Terminal and decking boards reclaimed from a pedestrian footbridge over the River Cam. After visiting Ashwells timber yard in Bulphan – Upminster, SHCCBS community leaders selected the reclaimed timber – attracted to it’s strength, beautiful character and sustainable credentials.

The pier’s first 30 meter land bridge section, from the pavement edge out into the river, is expected to open to the public in the spring of 2020.  Work to apply for planning permission to add side platforms and a visitor centre with workshop on the pier’s remaining 130 meters continues.

SHCCBS Chairman John Davitt recently shared the delight of the volunteers by saying: “We feel so lucky to get this funding, which is  a great expression of support for the development of the pier for the public to use once again after so many years. We can’t wait to get on with the work!”

Deb Davies-Tutt of Ashwells Timber said – “It was an honour to be invited to supply timber for this high-profile pier restoration.  During colonial times, tropical hardwoods such as Greenheart and Jarrah were imported to the UK from Africa, Australia, Central America and British Guyana.  This means that, as a Victorian pier,  timbers would have originally been tropical making the choice to re-build in 2020 using reclaimed Greenheart even more perfect.”  

Sustainable construction is the topic of the moment.  The good news is that an ever-increasing number of civil and marine engineers are now working with us to reclaim damaged or no-longer needed timber – ensuring that they comply with the EU Waste Framework Directive 2008, UK Waste Regulations 2011 which states it is a crime to a crime to throw away, burn, compost or recycle reusable timber for which there is a market.

This ensures that all reclamation and re use possibilities are considered, and redundant timbers can go on to have a new life in projects such as Shotley Pier.

Read more about the circular economy, and reclaimed timber’s place within it in our recent blog – Timber in the Circular Economy.


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About Ashwells Reclaimed Timber

Ashwells Reclaimed Timber is a tropical reclamation specialist based in Bulphan, Essex.   We reclaim and repurpose FSC certified tropical timber and temperate British hardwoods.  From our timber mill we supply hard and softwoods to be re-purposed into bespoke pieces, from garden planters and seating to street furniture and sea defences.  We’re also proud to collaborate with award winning landscape designers, architects and civil engineers, and our reclaimed tropical timber can be seen in major projects across the UK, including hotel and restaurant chains, the Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court, The Eden Project and London Zoo.