Brian May from Queen unveils Dorset woodland vision
- 12 February 2013
- From the section Dorset
Queen guitarist Brian May has talked about his vision to turn a plot of Dorset farmland into a woodland wildlife sanctuary.
His team will be planting 100,000 trees on 155 acres (62 hectares) of land near Bere Regis village in September.
He had two "packed" meetings with about 150 villagers on Monday night to discuss his plans.
"It was great, everyone was very positive and we had some great ideas from people," he said.
Village school plans
May, a known wildlife campaigner, said: "We're turning land which has been used for farming back to original woodland, that's the long term plan.
"We're adjacent to a piece of woodland which I've owned for a number of years anyway so it's an extension of an already existing scheme to try and recreate an ancient landscape."
The rock guitarist, who actively campaigns against fox hunting and badger culling said he also wanted "to exclude hunting and to manage the land in a more humane fashion than has been the tradition".
He said villagers offered ideas including a visitor centre and information boards, and that his project tied in with council plans to move the village school.
"A lot of the people were very glad that there is an opportunity for education here," he said, "and strangely enough there are plans to relocate the local school to the area exactly adjacent to where we're doing the planting.
"They've already established a project for a wildlife conservation area the other side, so the school would be completely surrounded by wildlife, which would be amazing and it would dovetail into our scheme very well."
There will be one more crop of rapeseed on the farmland before planting begins in September.
"Of course it would take many many years for the project to come to fruition and I'm sure I won't be around by the time that the forest is mature, but hopefully all of our grandchildren will be able to enjoy a fantastic forest," he said.
Chairman of Bere Regis Parish Council Ian Ventham said the meeting went "extremely well" and that he heard "no voices of dissent".
He added Dr May's plans "accords very nicely with what people would want for our village anyway".
The National Farmer's Union declined to comment.
Dr May said: "There are plenty of people who want to discredit me and I have become accustomed to that, and these are mainly people who want to continue hunting or people who are convinced a badger cull is going to solve the TB problem in cattle which I'm convinced it won't."
He said his "answer to the cull" was the Badger Vaccination Initiative (BVI).
"We're proposing to offer this to farmers in various areas who have no other hope of help and hopefully we'll be able to vaccinate their badgers and eliminate that component of their problem."
He added: "We are very sincere. Why would I give myself this grief if I didn't sincerely believe that I was doing some good?"