HS2 – A View from the Woods

The first phase of HS2 (London to Birmingham) will cause direct loss to 21 ancient woodlands, South Cubbington Woods is one of those woods.The local community have shared just how special their wood is by making this video highlighting the damage that HS2 would do to the wood and local landscape:

HS2 Will Devastate Our Environment from HS2 Action Alliance on Vimeo.

With so many wood anemones it is  thought that the woodland could date back as far as the last ice age, making South Cubbington wood really very special. Just to the south of the wood lies Britain’s largest wild pear tree, its measurements suggest that it could also be one of Britian’s oldest ancient pear trees, possibly 200-250 years old. This tree, which has been recognised to be of national significance, would be destroyed by HS2.

The wood is privately owned but is traversed by many local footpaths as well as the long distance Shakespeare’s Avon Way which attracts walkers from all over the country. This ease of access has made the wood central to village life. We hope that this video goes some small way in showing what is at stake for ancient woodland up and down the HS2 line.

Victoria Bankes Price, Planning Adviser

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About Kaye Brennan

Senior Campaigner (Policy & Advocacy) for the Woodland Trust and Administrator, 'Woodland Matters' blog
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22 Responses to HS2 – A View from the Woods

  1. Pingback: WEEK 10 | Ecopoetics@Warwick

  2. Mike Hollebone. says:

    As regards the HS2 project My view is a) we don’t need it. b) it is a total waste of money that should be used to fund things like the NHS and other things that are having their funds cut. in the mistaken thought from this short sighted Government that it will create imployment!? it might for a very short term but what happens when the contract is finnished? C) The Government are so short sighted that they dont realise they are trying to invest in a totally out of date technology ie Railways! If they want an up to date transport link they should invest in a Monorail sytem which can be put over the top of existing roads and Railways with very little disruption to the invirenment. This would actually earn some credibility and prestige for the country and show we can keep up with the Germans and Japanese etc who have had these modes of transport for ages and have proved they work well.

  3. Finn Holding says:

    Thanks for posting about this Victoria. I think this issue is important because there is a lot of current debate about whether HS2 is necessary at all, and also whether the claims for the resultant economic benefit have been hugely overhyped. I haven’t yet heard anything that makes me think HS2 is justified and is anything more than just another flagship project to provide this government with something ‘positive’. (I’d like to see all the lobbying and back room deals done to secure this made public. Who exactly is on the board of HS2 Ltd and the other lobbying companies and consultancies involved, I wonder?). As Alex said higher up these comments it would make more sense to spend money filling in pot holes in exisitng roads!

    A bit like the Olympics, it was fun for a couple of weeks but now it appears it may turn out to be a white elephant despite all the talk of a ‘2012 legacy’. I fear HS2 may well go the same way.

    Keep up the good work Peter, yourself and the other protectors of South Cubbington Wood are doing such an important job, I hope you get the result you deserve!

  4. Thanks Peter, your last sentence sums this up beautifully.

  5. Peter Delow says:

    Hi, I’m the fat old geezer huffing and puffing his way around South Cubbington Wood in the video. Thank you all so much for your messages of support and a special thank you to Victoria Bankes Price for her blog.
    I think that most people would now agree that the carbon emission advantages of high speed rail were very much oversold by the Government; unfortunately some of the environmental NGOs fell for the propaganda. It is very unlikely that the huge investment in embedded carbon to build the thing and the very high carbon costs of running trains at high speeds will allow any carbon emission savings to be made overall.
    May I say to Maureen that Cubbington is a long way north of the Chilterns and even further north of Stratford (at least the one in east London). There is no guarantee that any changes made in London would change the present route through Cubbington.
    We have made our own proposal to save South Cubbington Wood by tunnelling under it. A detailed submission was presented to HS2 Ltd last May; apart from agreeing that our proposal is technically viable, HS2 Ltd has so far taken no account of this alternative in the detailed route design. So, at present, the proposal is still to excavate a cutting right through the Wood.
    This is proving to be a very long campaign, with a long way to go still, and it is all too easy to lose heart. The comments made by Valerie, Karen and Terry are a much-needed boost, but if at any time I get low I go over to the Wood and then I know why we all need to keep up the fight.

  6. Maureen Stevens says:

    I saw on the TV one minister was saying that the better proposal would be for the trains to go from Straford station, which would leave the Chilterns alone….lets push for them to take this route.

  7. Terry Fuller says:

    Hi, I live way up in Cumbria but I fully support all protest against the decimation of this beautiful, ancient, beloved and irreplaceable site, I only wish I coild do more to help. Keep me posted. It just can’t happen. Tez x

  8. Pingback: HS2 – A View from the Woods | Conservation & Environment | Scoop.it

  9. Karen Lewis-Bell says:

    I am so concerned that beautiful South Cubbington Woods will be lost when HS2 arrives. The price of progress will be to decimate lovely leafy Warwickshire. Please post this video on You Tube.

    • Victoria Bankes Price says:

      Thanks Karen, I have passed your comments on to the group who made the video, I agree it would be good to see this important video on You Tube too.

  10. Many thanks for all your comments. This is a very difficult issue, one that we are constantly grappling with internally. We appreciate the need for low carbon transport and we support high speed rail in principle, however we do not believe that this should be at the expense of ancient woodland. As such we oppose the current route and believe that more effort can be made to protect this irreplaceable habitat. We are working closely with HS2 Ltd and local communities up and down the line, supporting alternative plans and lobbying for better protection and enhancement of our ancient woods and trees. Jacquie you are exactly right, it is the intrinsic value of our ancient woodland that is key.
    We believe that this is a critical issues and will be pushing our argument relentlessly throughout these early stages, the hybrid bill and beyond.

    Thanks again for your comments, its always good to have some feedback and we take everything you say on board. Please keep watching the blog for more HS2 updates.

    Victoria.

  11. I so hope you manage to preserve this irreplaceable countryside, even down -under, in the antipodes, my heart aches at the destruction of this ancient rural landscape

  12. Alex Jones says:

    Speaking from an economic point of view, these large scale proposed new infrastructure projects makes no economic sense in a period of global financial crisis, with a Government that despite their austerity cuts is still running up public debt. As the Guardian today pointed out, it makes sense to repair existing roads, bridges and infrastructure, which creates more jobs, is less expensive and has immediate economic and political benefits than long term projects like HS2.

    For a Government supposedly pro-business I would not hire such a bunch of short-sighted idiots.

  13. Peter Gruffydd says:

    Bang on, Jaquie! “We” too often do not see further than immediate protests. The lesson will, I hope, be learnt.

  14. Jacquie Cox says:

    I can’t help wondering how foolish certain environmental NGOs are feeling about HS2? They were the ones who suggested a high speed rail link as a workable alternative to the Heathrow expansion, and campaigned for it while opposing the third runway. Now that they have it, the Woodland Trust, HS2 Action Alliance, and others are jumping up and down about individual environments that will be harmed. What is more valuable and deserves saving? A six hundred year old church? An ancient and historic village? These ancient woodlands? Why not all of them? I suppose it comes back to the topic of intrinsic value, and valuing environments.

    Now, if the ‘greenest Tory government ever’ has its way, we will get both HS2 and another runway. There is a lesson in this for conservation and environmental charities and lobby groups – be careful what you wish for.

    • Peter David Leech says:

      I have started a Government e-petition re thye HS2 in Staffordshire the link is http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/45347 sadly I had not the statistics as to how many ancient woodlands and woodlands that wood be affected by this new scheme otherwise I would have added it to my petition I feel so, so strongly about the effect on our woodlands and wildlife this scheme is going to cause

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