Feature: action group highlights impact of HS2 on Cubbington

Carillion is one of the major contractors of HS2
Carillion is one of the major contractors of HS2

Losing parts of their ancient woodland to the HS2 high-speed rail project will have a lasting impact on people in Cubbington, villagers have said.

As part of a series of features covering the effect the project will have on communities in and around Warwick district , members of the Cubbington Action Group Against HS2 have highlighted how various events and activities will suffer.

The group has been running spring flower walks since 2011 to show villagers the beautiful area they will lose if the project goes ahead and to spur them into action.

The walks have attracted people from all over the area and beyond, including a school group.

The group has also held autumn walks, a specific ‘Walk the Line’ protest and a bat walk.

South Cubbington Wood is home to several species including the rare Leisler’s bat.

Cubbington's wild pear tree. Picture by Frances Wilmot. NNL-150924-105059005

Cubbington's wild pear tree. Picture by Frances Wilmot. NNL-150924-105059005

The group will be running its last of walks in 2018, as major construction works are due to start until 2019.

Rosemary Guiot, of the action group, said: “As part of the preparation for my petition to the House of Commons Select Committee asking for a bored tunnel under South Cubbington Wood, I gathered information on the amenity value of the wood to the local population.

“Local schools use South Cubbington Wood as a resource. Cubbington CE Primary runs a welly walk for all the children each year as well as other walks targeted at specific groups eg for their current topics, such as the woodland habitat through the seasons, and to complement literacy and fire the children’s imagination. I have also led groups from Our Lady and St Teresa’s School on walks to and round the wood.

“Cubbington Ranger Guides go up to the wood for evening hikes in spring, stargazing in winter, maps and compass work and observation of wild life.

“The Cubs also use the wood for some of their activities, eg den building.

“A Lillington youth group has visited the wood: their youth worker says they find it enchanting, fun and educational and were interested in the link to world history which exists in the form of two bomb craters from WWII, the bombs having fallen during the blitz on Coventry. The craters have become popular with children riding BMX bikes, but are unlikely to survive construction.

“Three out of five footpaths out of Cubbington village will be affected by construction of HS2 and a fourth will have a grandstand view of it. These footpaths, especially the two which lead to South Cubbington Wood, are very well used by local people walking dogs or just out for a stroll and by numerous ramblers’ groups from further afield. Although the footpaths will eventually be reinstated, we are as yet uncertain to what extent construction will affect walkers’ access to the wood itself and points beyond it which are served by footpaths (the river Leam, Weston, Hunningham, Offchurch).

“Most of the wood is likely to be off limits during construction. Whether schools and groups will still want to use the wood after the completion of works is debatable, due to the noise from the frequent trains.”

Detailed information on the physical impact on Cubbington and the surrounding area can be found at www.hs2-cubbington.net