Michael’s Acre – an acre of UK woodland protected in Michael Jackson’s memory
A woodland acre together with a memorial bench in Michael Jackson’s memory has given fans and friends of the beloved late humanitarian star the chance to leave a personal tribute whilst at the same time ensuring that his love of trees, his concern for the nature and the planet, and his song lyrics pleading for us to take care of the environment were not in vain.
From 5 November 2012, MJL began to raise funds to protect an entire acre of UK woodland in Michael Jackson’s memory. That acre of land is Michael’s Acre and it is in the heart of Kent’s glorious Hucking Estate. Approximately the size of a small soccer pitch, the stunning ancient woodland acre contains up to 100 trees.
The protection of the natural environment is a subject that the star cared passionately about and his fans clearly feel the same, since the entire £3000 (approx. $4500 USD) was raised by mid-January 2013. Now, Michael’s Acre is protected for posterity and for generations to come, to enjoy. Trees in this woodland are dedicated once and once only. That means that now Michael has an acre of protected woodland dedicated in his memory, it will stay dedicated in his memory.
Kent is located close to London and was where Michael had intended reside for his ‘This Is It’ tour had his sold-out concerts at London’s 02 Arena been a reality. It is a convenient location for those travelling from London as well as for those travelling from Europe to the UK by sea. Notwithstanding this, its sheer beauty as a place of honour and remembrance makes it the perfect location for this touching tribute.
Hucking Estate, acquired by the Woodland Trust in 1997, is a vast estate seven miles east of Maidstone, in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s centred around the village of Hucking. Within this peaceful and serene ancient woodland, which is still owned and preserved so beautifully by The Woodland Trust, people can hike, picnic, or just sit and enjoy a few moments away from the rush of the outside world.
Shrubs including hawthorn, elder and hazel add to the beauty of the abundance of trees and nature, including the butterflies and birds that have made their home in this glorious woodland. If you visit in the springtime, you will find that part of the woodland, including Michael’s Acre, are blanketed with breathtakingly beautiful bluebells.
As part of our donation, an expertly-crafted bench together with dedication plaque was placed in the dedicated acre that summer, to honour Michael and his desire to protect the earth and to serve as a place where people can stop, rest and reflect. The dedicated Chiddingstone bench, made from certified oak hardwood – which is naturally resistant to decay – has been made by expert craftsmen to very high and resilient standards. The bench can be found in Michael’s Acre, on the Bridleway, and is located directly adjacent to a huge ancient old oak tree, reminiscent of Michael’s beloved ‘Giving Tree’ at his Neverland Ranch home, where he would create some of his most inspiring and heartfelt songs.
The inscription on the bench reads:
In loving memory of Michael Jackson:
beloved icon and tireless humanitarian.
Michael’s Acre has been made possible by
fans worldwide whose lives his gentle
spirit touched. “What about flowering
fields, is there a time?” ~ Earth Song.
Visiting Michael’s Acre
The nearest railway station is at Hollingbourne – around two miles from Hucking Estate. It is about 35 minutes’ walk away. We would advise that you take a taxi cab from there to Hucking Estate and can recommend Justin at Streamline Travel on 01622-750000. The cab with Streamline will cost around £10.00 one way, but it is well worth the journey since the estate is otherwise hard to find and will incur a walk up quite a steep path. If you do want to walk, take the path from the station’s car park up the bank immediately opposite the old station building, turn right over the style and join the public right of way. Follow this into the field and carefully cross the railway using the kissing gates. Follow the public right of way straight ahead across the field, heading towards the farm at the foot of the Downs. On reaching the road, turn left and then immediately right at the farm entrance. Follow this track (which is part of the old Droveway) past the cottages and up onto the Downs. When you reach the top of the hill you will be at Hucking Estate.
From Junction 8 of the M20, follow the signs to Lenham and Leeds Castle. At the second roundabout, take the road signed to Hollingbourne. Pass through the village and continue up the hill. At the top of the hill turn left and follow the signposts to Hucking. The Woodland Trust’s car part can be found on the left just before entering Hucking village.
Finding the bench:
Take a look at the two maps below, and you will be able to easily and accurately locate the acre of dedicated ancient woodland, now protected for posterity in Michael’s memory. As you will see, much of the acre can be located in Smokes Wood, in the very heart of the Hucking Estate’s ancient woodland, while some of it stretches into London Wood. The entire acre encompasses stunning scenery. To easily find the path on which the dedicated bench will be situated, simply look at the shape of London Wood on both maps. You will see horseshoes representing a path alongside the left of London Wood. Follow that path and the old ancient oak tree will be a perfect landmark as you get closer to the dedicated bench. If you are venturing there and would like a fold-out map of the area, with the location of the bench marked on it, please let us know.
Dedicated donors who made Michael’s Acre possible (from highest to lowest)
Fans from 21 different countries have raised the £3000 necessary for this endeavour to be completed. Those countries were: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Vietnam, and Wales.
UK residents and visitors to the UK from across the world will now have a quiet and beautiful area in which to meet and enjoy remembering Michael, and the donors below who contributed to the success of this initiative will always be able to rest in the knowledge that they have helped a piece of living woodland to survive. Michael’s awe-inspiring composition ‘Earth Song’ is testament to his love of the earth and its power to nourish, nurture and sustain. This project is an endeavour to protect the earth’s rare beauty and ceaseless wonder for future generations to marvel at, revel in and enjoy.
|Grazia, Sara, Annamaria, Ada and Melina||Italy|
|Aussie Blooms for Michael||Australia|
|Karen E for Nibsy (RIP)||England|
|Karen E for Jacob (RIP)||USA|
|Lali E and Eti P||Russia|
|Beverly-Ann V||South Africa|
|Becci H for Jack (RIP)||England|
|Kim A||New Zealand|
|Karlene J||Trinidad & Tobago|
The three highest giving countries from largest to smallest were:
1. USA (£777.22)
2. Sweden (£277.92)
3. England (£227.05)
THANK YOU FOR KEEPING MICHAEL’S LEGACY OF LOVE ALIVE!
Michael- in his own words:
“I remember writing ‘Earth Song’ when I was in Austria, in a hotel. And I was feeling so much pain and so much suffering of the plight of the Planet Earth. And for me, this is Earth’s Song, because I think nature is trying so hard to compensate for man’s mismanagement of the Earth. And with the ecological unbalance going on, and a lot of the problems in the environment, I think earth feels the pain, and she has wounds, and it’s about some of the joys of the planet as well. But this is my chance to pretty much let people hear the voice of the planet. And this is ‘Earth Song.’ And that’s what inspired it. And it just suddenly dropped into my lap when I was on tour in Austria.” – Michael Jackson
“I love the Planet, I love the trees. I have this thing for trees – the colours and changing of leaves. I love it. I respect those kind of things.” – Michael Jackson
“What about flowering fields? Is there a time?” – Michael Jackson (Earth Song)
“I respect the secrets and magic of nature…I have this thing for trees…” “What about forest trails? We’ve turned kingdoms to dust.” “We have to take care of the planet, we’ve got four years to get it right, or, it’s irreversible the damage we’ve done.” – Michael Jackson
“The earth we all share is not just a rock tossed through space but a living, nurturing being. She cares for us; she deserves our care in return. We’ve been treating Mother Earth the way some people treat a rental apartment. Just trash it and move on. But there’s no place to move on to now. We have brought our garbage and our wars and our racism to every part of the world. We must begin to clean her up, and that means cleaning up our own hearts and minds first, because they led us to poison our dear planet.” – Michael Jackson