Bere Regis Village Website

Bere Regis plans, creation and ongoing development of May's Wood

Brian May Woodland
Dr Brian May CBE came to the Village on 11th February 2013 to present his Vision on how he will plant a 100,000 tree Woodland on the 63 Hectares he has bought to the South of Shitterton. The Forestry Management Company he is using, UPM Tilhill, helped him outline the detail of the plan & had 2 Q&A Sessions, along with Brian, which were very well attended by Villagers.

These wonderful Woods, covering much of the farmland south of Shitterton and running up to Black Hill, were the idea of Dr Brian May CBE. Having purchased the land in 2012, he shared his 100,000 tree planting plans and then proceeded to turn his dreams into reality. This page acts as a pictorial record following that journey and also showing you how the Woods are developing today and into the future. As a village, we are immensely grateful for Brians vision and generations of villagers to come will benefit from his generosity.
Here's what Brian had to say about his trip to our Village -

We had a great day in Bere Regis today, and that little village so colourfully named Shitterton, or, to the more coy visitors, Sitterton! It was a public meeting, to enable me to explain our plans to restore an ancient woodland in this area, and also to seek advice and comments from the local folks.
It's a beautiful area, a wonderful place to bring up your children, and at the time I was contemplating purchasing, there was a threat of the surrounding area being built on to the tune of hundreds of houses. This was a horrific prospect for the villagers.
Having purchased the farmland in question, we then set about evolving a plan to return the whole site to its ancient glory as original British woodland.
My hope that, under the advice of experts who have been working in this district for generations, is to evolve better ways of Husbandry of the woodland, more humane, with no Culling, no pesticides no herbicides, and of course no hunting for pleasure.
This will be a safe place for all creatures, and an environment in which the local people can interact with animals in a way which will benefit everyone.
Well, that's my hope anyway.

The reaction I got today was incredibly positive. The place was packed to overflow, and in fact we had to make two presentations instead of one.
We got great comments, great ideas and a real feeling of a community moving forward in an exciting new project. I'm very excited myself.
I think my favourite memory will be a tiny little girl in purple, who came up to me afterwards and said, "Thank you for doing what you're doing".

I hope we get this right. My feeling, and my hope, is that in 100 years time people will be sitting around in Bere Regis discussing this project and saying - "Our grandparents did the right thing for us!"

The only sour note of the whole day, was an article in the Daily Telegraph ["Brian May upsets farmers with his latest plan to save badgers"] which was pitifully misinformed, mistakenly describing this project as a 'badger sanctuary' - with one of those quotes from NFU boss Peter Kendall saying that a rock star should not be interfering with Farmers' affairs.
Mr Kendall is such a nice man that I'm sure he would not be slagging me off unless he's been misinformed.
The project, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with the Badger Cull. And I should perhaps mention that we will not be bringing any animals in from other areas - that would be a very irresponsible thing to do, especially as this is a TB affected area.
The purpose of this project is to provide care for the animals who already inhabit these parts, a corridor where they can enjoy life, and enrich the lives of the local people. For me it's also an opportunity to learn.

More soon - and the plans will be on full view to the public.

Cheers - and my big thanks to all who attended the meeting today with such positive energy.

May’s Wood Inaugural Tree and Community Planting Day Plans

Saturday 28th September 2013 - Shitterton Wood Plot Field, Bere Regis
Bring along some gloves, good boots and an edging garden spade or a hand trowel (the trees are quite small) to help make a start on the planting of 100,000 trees!
Parking at the site is limited and vehicles should park in the village of Bere Regis which is a short walk to the site.

Programme on Planting day


Meeting and Welcome
Led by Dr Brian May and Julian Ohlsen at Shitterton Wood Plot Field - adjacent to the A35 slip road heading west (BH20 7HU). They will explain the ethos and objectives for the new woodlands and how the scheme will develop.


The Woodland Song
Performed by the school choir and led by Linda Lamon, this new piece of work will celebrate the event in music and lyrics.


Move to Horse Close Plots for Brian’s Tree planting
Dr May to plant the very first tree in May’s Wood.

Community Planting
Julian Ohlsen of UPM Tilhill to explain about and demonstrate how to plant the young oaks and the need for tree shelters, how they work and how to fit them as part of the tree planting process.
Tree planting continues as and when people arrive.


Wildlife Rocks Talk
The Save Me team will give a 40-minute talk about some of the amazing wildlife that surround us and some of the unusual roles that it performs to maintain the natural balance.
You will meet the people from Save Me and Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue who care and rehabilitate wildlife.

Close 5.00pm  

The Village is very grateful to Brian for what he has done - the alternative was fields of houses, as had been proposed by the previous Land owners.  

The Grainger Trust, a property development company, bought a chunk of Land to the south of Shitterton in the early 2000's.
Their intention was to add it to their Land Bank & then develop it into housing when Planning Permission was eventually granted.

With this in mind an Architectural Design company called FAT (Fashion Architecture Taste) were commissioned in 2005 by the Trust to undertake a Master plan to create a new sustainable extension to the village, using this Land.
The master plan comprised around 350 new homes including affordable, new work spaces together with new community amenities including, a school, a health centre and a community hall.
The new village would've made use of the most up-to-date technology for the delivery of environmental sustainability and would've been constructed making full use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC's).
It was intended that the new village would've been an exemplar project which would've set new standards for sustainable regeneration.

When the Plans were eventually released to the Village, in the hope of drumming up local support in advance of the Planning Application, there was massive local opposition.
The Plans were subsequently rejected by the Local Government & the Grainger Trust sold the Land in late 2012, to Dr Brian May CBE.

Click the images below to view in a gallery
BBC South Today News Report on Brians Visit...
From a newly seeded field through to harvesting the last wheat crop, to the tree planting with Brian May.
Featuring a song written by Linda Lamon sung by Bere Regis school children and some local adults

Filmed and edited by villager Rod Osmond