The beauty of North Dorset’s wooded spaces will fill the walls of Shaftesbury Arts Centre’s Gallery from March 21. Gallery visitors will see how the artist used his creative skills to share a stark warning through the stunning Shaftesbury area scenery.

Visitors will find a haunting painting of a foggy Park Walk by Gary Cook. His brushstrokes have captured the enchanting light between the trunks and branches of trees at Melbury Beacon.

Gary believes Britain’s ash trees could face decimation by a fungus more devastating for Dorset’s landscapes than Dutch elm disease and 90% of Britain’s ash trees could be at risk from ash dieback, he warned.

The artist is now painting woodland landscapes as a lasting record of what we could lose. Each of Gary’s pieces included a grid reference, pinpointing its exact location, so the true impact of the blight could be assessed in future.

Gary’s 25 paintings are etched with additional pencil-written text, listing insects, birds and wildlife. “1,053 species rely on ash trees. I wanted to show how everything is connected,” Gary says.

‘Rooted in Dorset’ runs from March 21 to 27. View his work online at


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