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In the latest movie version of Robin Hood, Russell Crowe makes his entrance when he emerges from a path behind the trees at the Forestry Commission’s Bourne Wood near Farnham in Surrey.
It could be one of the same sandy paths that many local people have walked countless times with their dogs. But for Russell Crowe, he is entering the film’s big opening scene, the iconic image of a magnificent French castle on top of a hill between banks of pine trees and a thatched medieval village below.
In this heroic version of the film, directed by Ridley Scott, Crowe stars as Robin Hood and Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian.
Visiting Bourne Wood today you would hardly imagine this was where Richard the Lionheart besieges the castle in the film with 125 horses, 500 archers, flaming arrows and battering rams. Bourne Wood is a peaceful haven of tranquillity where you can hear the birds singing and the hush of the trees blowing in the wind.
Last visited by Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe when filming Gladiator more than 10 years ago, Bourne Wood is immediately recognisable for its beautiful Scots Pine trees, which are managed by the Forestry Commission to create a beautiful and timeless landscape so sought after by film directors.
Pam Eastwood, film liaison officer for the Forestry Commission, said:
“Robin Hood has once again made Bourne Wood one of those memorable movie scenes that will be watched worldwide for years to come. Taking four months to build the set, trees from the wood were used in the construction to create the palisade walls and fortifications for the medieval thatched village, which we allowed them to do as part of our forest management and tree thinning programme.”
Still a working forest, visitors to Bourne Wood today might see the end of the first phase of the forest management which started in April with trees being taken to saw mills on loaders. The tree thinning and felling is part of a ten-year forest design plan to protect and enhance Bourne Wood for the future. It includes a comprehensive tree planting programme and removal of invasive and non-native shrub species.
Approximately 2,000 mature trees are being removed which will be replaced with 10,000 new conifer trees next winter. The older trees are felled for timber when they are mature so that new trees can be planted to provide an attractive wood for the next generation.
The replanting is vital for sustainable forestry and in helping to combat climate change. It is hoped that this round of forest management will ensure Bourne Woods' ongoing visual appeal for visitors and on screen audiences for many years to come.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Bourne Wood
Bourne Wood is a small mainly coniferous woodland on the edge of Farnham. It is a much-loved woodland and provides walking and other recreational opportunities for local people.
Production companies come from all over the world to take advantage of its unique setting. From the central clearing there are no views of civilisation, which means it can reproduce settings from any point in history. Many millions of pounds have gone into local businesses whilst it hosts film productions. The income from filming helps to support and maintain nature conservation and recreation projects on Forestry Commission land across the South East.
About the Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission manages over 250,000 hectares (600,000 acres) of woodlands in England. Most of this land is open for public access and the Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in the country. For further information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/southeastengland.
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.
Jo Spouncer, on behalf of the Forestry Commission
Tel: 01420 23666 Mob: 07828 762045