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Rock star invites locals to join in planting
11:36am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
QUEEN guitarist Brian May will plant the first tree in a major new woodland on his land near Bere Regis.
The nature lover and founder of the Save Me organisation will be joined by locals for the community planting day from 2.30pm onwards on Saturday September 28.
He is establishing a new native woodland called May’s Wood on the 157-acre site at Bere Regis.
Dr May says he wants to create an environment where people and animals can exist together.
He 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 re-claim it on behalf of our wildlife.
"Eventually it will form a wildlife corridor and link on with the wildlife meadow.
“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.”
Dr May’s Save Me woodland planting scheme aims to create a significant wildlife haven and enhanced ecological habitat on a site to the southern side of the village of Bere Regis which was previously agricultural land.
In total, more than 100,000 trees and shrubs will be planted over the next 12 months in what is one of the largest new woodland planting schemes in the south of England this year.
The proposals include open, responsible pedestrian access and involve the gradual transformation of intensive agricultural land to a woodland and wildlife reserve The woodland was originally named Save Me Woods but has become known by local residents as May’s Wood and the name has stuck. They have been consulted about the plans and many attended a consultation day in February when they heard from Dr May and other stakeholders involved.
Locals are being encouraged to join Dr May and his team throughout the afternoon and help plant some of the first trees.
Around 600 trees will be planted at the event, predominantly oak and supplied as small cells (20cm tall trees with their roots protected in a peat plug) which are easy to handle and plant for children and adults alike. People will be shown how to place the protective shelters over each tree to complete the process of tree planting. Eight fields are being planted as part of the May’s Wood conversion from agricultural land into new woodland habitat. Planted and managed by contractor UPM Tilhill, the range of trees will include oak, beech, chestnut, limes, wild cherry, spruce, Douglas fir, walnut and woody shrubs. The majority of the tree planting will take place after 1 January once the farming cycle has fully stopped. Anne Brummer, chief executive of Save Me, said: "It's an exciting new project for Save Me and our first experiment into 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!"
Responsible pedestrian public access will be encouraged over most areas, with gates through sections where deer fences are erected and clear paths and rides set out to make a diverse experience to the visitor. The margins of the woodland will have a graduated edge with lower growing woody shrubs such as viburnum, hazel, hawthorn, bird cherry and spindle being planted though areas retained and managed for wild flowers.
All the young plants being used have been grown in the UK from seed taken from healthy trees or local sources.
They are predominately native species, with the exception of walnut and conifer to provide winter cover.
Due to the current status of ash die-back, no ash trees will be planted until a disease resistant species has been found.
While the management practices will not be fully organic, the use of herbicides will immediately be greatly reduced from historic levels and after three or four years of the scheme they will only be employed as a last resort to control any nuisance weeds.
There will be no use of insecticides or fungicides that may have been regularly used on the arable land previously.
UPM Tilhill’s District Manager Julian Ohlsen said: “We are very pleased to be working once again with Dr May on a project such as this.
"We have huge amounts of experience in creating and restoring woodland, as well as wildlife habitats all over the UK, and this is one of the largest in the South for several years.”
UPM Tilhill, established more than 60 years ago, is a national company operating from a network of offices throughout the UK.
UPM Tilhill is the UK’s largest forest management and timber harvesting company.
The company provides a full range of consultancy and contracting services to the forest owner and forestry investor.
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