You might have noticed that there have been trees planted galore at the side of the A363 road which runs from Bradford-on-Avon to Bath, thousands of them. Now there are reports that this woodland in the making is the brainchild of rock legend and Queen frontman Brian May. Dr Brian May is not only a talented guitarist, as an alumnus of Imperial College, London, he also holds a PhD in astrophysics. A keen environmentalist, he has experience of woodland planting in Dorset, where he purchased land earmarked for development and turned it into a 157-acre forest, now called May’s Wood.
The land at the side of the A363 has a public footpath running through it from Farleigh Wick to Warleigh Lane and Conkwell. Popular with local walkers, this pathway has some great views of the river and Bath beyond. The walk at the side is known as the Palladian Way, which goes into Bath from Oxford and runs some 118 miles.
Brian May’s new forest has been planted with a mix of native British species, including oak, red oak, lime, blackthorn and hawthorn. The saplings are nestled inside tubes to protect the tender tiny trees within, as deer would destroy them very quickly. Tall fences surround the thousands of saplings which are planted in enormous drifts. Hopefully as the trees mature, the fencing will be removed, and wildlife will run free.
England is one of the least wooded nations at just 10% whereas in Europe the proportion is 38%. Furthermore, the UK ranks a pitiful 25 out of 28 for the percentage of land area that is forest cover in Europe. Trees are vital to combat air pollution, preserve wildlife and minimise flood damage. Fire is the enemy of trees, and for the visitor it is important to follow the Countryside Code, particularly taking care with any sort of fire. Always seek permission for any sort of barbecue or bonfire. Never throw out cigarettes without extinguishing them first, and if you see a fire which looks suspicious, call the emergency services straight away. Planting more trees can only be a good thing, so we look forward to seeing Brian May’s latest project growing into a beautiful new forest.
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