Brian May plants first tree at Dorset wood and gives wildlife message to youngsters
Dr Brian May planted more than the first tree of a new wood when he eased a tiny oak sapling into the soil of a Dorset field on Saturday.
The Queen guitarist and founder of Save Me was also planting in the minds of dozens of local children the seeds of his philosophy that man and wildlife should live in harmony.
The children and their parents joined Dr May at Shitterton, Bere Regis, to plant the first trees of his planned 157-acre community woodland wildlife reserve. Schoolchildren sang The Woodland Song, written by local songwriter Linda Lamon.
Six hundred trees were planted at the weekend, and over the next 12 months nearly 100,000 more trees and shrubs will join them in what is one of the largest new woodland planting schemes in the south of England this year.
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Locals have been consulted throughout the planning.
Responsible pedestrian public access will be encouraged over most areas, with gates through sections where deer fences are erected, as well as clear paths and rides. The margins will have a graduated edge, with low-growing woody shrubs, and some areas will be managed for wild flowers.
The woodland originally named Save Me Woods has become known by residents as May’s Wood and the name has stuck. Dr May, who comes of Dorset farming stock, said: “I come from a place of playing guitar and music, but I’ve always had a concern about animals which led to the founding of my charity, Save Me. Our basic philosophy is that this land used to be forest hundreds of years ago and now I want to reclaim it on behalf of our wildlife.
“We have a wonderful possibility to make an environment which our children and grandchildren will grow up and enjoy in harmony with the animals around them.”
The wood will be planted and managed by contractor UPM Tilhill and the range of trees will include oak, beech, chestnut, limes, wild cherry, spruce, Douglas fir, walnut and woody shrubs.
Anne Brummer, chief executive of Save Me, added: “It’s an exciting new project for Save Me and our first experiment in maintaining a woodland humanely with a natural balance for all to enjoy. We hope this will be the first of many such projects in the heart of the country, showing that fauna and flora will survive and support each other without too much interference from man. This land has had all its natural nutrients drained from it by intensive farming, it is now time for us to give it back by introducing a huge woodland planting scheme of native trees. It has been a long process to get here and we are all really excited about the future, watching this grow and expanding the project. May’s Wood will totally rock!”
Brian May heads towards ‘May’s Wood’, as it has become known, as the first saplings of a new wood were planted on Saturday PICTURE: STEVE ROBERTS
Dr Brian May, famed guitarist with rock group Queen and founder of Save Me is delighted to have planted the first oak sapling at Shitterton, Dorset at the start of the creation of ‘May’s Wood’. Picture: Steve Roberts
A supporter of Save Me in a badger mask at Shitterton, Dorset at the start of the creation of ‘May’s Wood’.