He reported spending £100m during a self-proclaimed ‘sex and drugs and rock’n’roll era’, which he felt ‘was really dumb and I am glad I stopped, but I can’t deny it was wonderful to do it’. Dennis’ five residences included a thatched manor near his Heart of England Forest in Dorsington. He did not have a driving liscence, yet owned 18 Rolls Royces and Bentleys.
Dennis Publishing, founded by the late media entrepreneur Felix Dennis, has been sold for £166m to the private equity firm Exponent.
£150m of the sale will go to Warwickshire’s Heart of England Forest, the charity Dennis founded and through which he planted one million trees over 3,500 acres by the time he died in 2014.
Publisher Felix Dennis Posthumously Plants £150m Worth of Trees
‘I’m hoping that long after I’m dead the charity I founded will one day be the proud possessor of 25,000 acres of woodland planted with 10 million native broad-leafed trees, completely open to the public.’ -Felix Dennis
Dennis’ keen eye for selling magazines at their peak gave him a profitable portfolio that included titles such as The Week, Viz, Men’s Fitness, Land Rover Monthly and Cross Stitcher.
After catching sight of a fetching few trees in Golden Square when he was in his twenties, Dennis fell in love with trees, extending his list of passions to include ‘making money, writing poetry’ and ‘planting trees’. ‘I am busy planting England’s first broadleaf forest for hundreds of years, so that means I do not make as much money as I should, but I am happier for it,’ he said during his life.
While Dennis himself may have been a complicated figure, famously jailed over an inflammatory issue of Oz and drunkenly claiming to have killed a man, his charity stands by a simple tenant: ‘To plant, protect and preserve a huge broadleaf forest – a place of tranquility and natural beauty that’s open to anyone and planted with the help and support of everyone.’
The forest stretches across the heart of England – from the ancient Forest of Arden, south to the edge of the Vale of Evesham. While the UK has less than a third of the native tree cover of many other European countries, Heart of England have already created 3,000 acres of new woodland – more than 1 million trees. The charity’s dream is to turn that into 30,000 acres.