A ROCK legend came to Dorset to discuss his woodland vision with residents in Bere Regis.

Queen guitarist Brian May spent yesterday in the village to discuss his plans to transform around 160 acres of land in the area into a woodland nature reserve.

Dozens of residents flocked to Drax Hall to see the 'We will Rock You' star present his ideas to plant 100,000 trees on the site to the south of the village, between Bere Regis and Black Hill.

The land was previously used for agriculture and is adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Dr May, who gained his Phd from Imperial College in astrophysics in 2007, said 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 there’s always been a concern about animals.

“The basic philosophy is that this land used to be forest hundreds of years ago and it would make 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 as human beings in harmony with animals around them.

“I’m hoping what we will get is better than what you would have got with hundreds of houses being built.

“I want to know what people in the village think, if you approve and want to hear your thoughts.”

Dr May said he enjoyed meeting residents and hearing their comments on the plans.

He said: “The most interesting question I’ve had is - will you bring lots of badgers in and the answer is no.

“There are three sets on the land and we will look at vaccinating those badgers but we believe they are healthy.

“We hope to conserve the animals that already live here and manage them sensibly.

“The human race has it wrong in that we consider ourselves to be the centre of the universe.”

He added: “I’ve had links with this area for years, I even have ancient relatives who were dairy farmers in Dorset.

“This piece of land is one of a couple of areas I invested about 12 or 13 years ago.

“I have no agenda here, I’m not trying to make money or get famous.

“This is not for profit gain or greed, just to make a better environment for all creatures on this planet.”

Julian Ohlsen, district manager of UPM Tilhill a forestry management company working on the scheme, said there was a positive response from residents.

He said: “It was quite busy all afternoon with a steady stream of people.

“Brian arrived quite early and was catching up with locals and finding out their thoughts on the plans.

“It’s all very positive, everyone sees it as a real asset to Bere Regis.”

A planning application is due to be submitted in May and it is estimated the planting could be finished by the end of the year.

PRAISE FOR THE WOODLAND SCHEME RESIDENTS and members of the community have welcomed the plans.

Bere Regis residents Edna and Patrick Hamilton said the woodland will benefit the village and local wildlife.

Mrs Hamilton said: “We overlook this land so it will be a big change but a good one.

“Tree planting will have benefits and will benefit the people in the village as well as the flora and fauna.”

Parish Councillor Robin Pitcher said: “The parish council has bought a piece of land to have as a village conservation area.

“The two plans slot completely in with one another.

“We want to encourage wild flowers back to the land, which also ties in with Brian May’s project, and we are working alongside him to achieve this.”

West Dorset District Councillor for the area Peter Wharf also welcomed the plans.

He said: “It’s excellent, this is a brilliant idea and will go well with all the other projects in the village, the public are really behind it.”