250 year old pear tree and the high speed train

This pear tree in this hedgerow has been classified by the Ancient Tree Register of the Woodland Trust as a “Veteran Tree” [1]. The trunk has a girth of 3.78m and its age has been estimated at 250 years [2]. It stands less than a kilometre from Cubbington, a quiet village close to Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. It also stands directly in the way of the proposed HS2 railway linking London to Birmingham [3]. After it is felled a 17m deep by 100m wide cutting will be dug and 36 trains an hour travelling at 250 mph will zoom past. Naturally the residents of Cubbington strongly oppose HS2. Whilst I strongly sympathise with their plight, I wouldn’t want it in my backyard, I must say I have nothing against such developments per se. Without large investments in infrastructure in the past we wouldn’t have the rail and road network we now take for granted and couldn’t live without. But £50 billion [5]. That’s a lot of money especially in these times of austerity. For what? So businessmen can get London twenty minutes or so faster. There will be no benefits whatsoever to the residents of Cubbington and a lot of costs. To catch the train they will have to travel north to Birmingham. £50 billion will pay for a lot of nurses. I am very sceptical of the cost/benefit analysis. Who will actually benefit? There is nothing for the North East in it. How much is a 250 year old pear tree worth? As I take my morning run out and back along two footpaths that cross the route it dawned on me there are no new footbridges marked on the HS2 route map where these paths are supposed to cross [4]. Surely crossings of Public Rights of Way have been thought about. Or perhaps the loss of local amenities is of no consequence. [1] http://www.ancient-tree-hunt.org.uk/recording/tree?tree=81b4be5b-47ff-4de0-8615-e6a4e72addff [2] http://cdnedge.bbc.co.uk/local/coventry/hi/people_and_places/nature/newsid_9364000/9364499.stm [3] http://www.hs2-cubbington.net/facts-about-hs2-and-its-effects-on-cubbington/ [4] http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/hs2-maps-20120110/hs2arp00drrw05022issue3.pdf [5] http://stophs2.org/tag/cubbington-action-group-against-hs2

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3 thoughts on “250 year old pear tree and the high speed train”

  1. Please do destroy this one in million tree! Make adjustments , detour around it. It’s a priceless gem, that be nurtured and celebrated, not killed. Near where t grew up , there is a giant old Oak….. They built the road around it! It thrives still.

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  2. There would be footbridges over the track, we are assured by HS2 Ltd, but a high speed track has to be as straight as possible, so deviation isn’t really feasible. Cubbington Parish Council, Action Group, our local wildlife trust and CPRE have petitioned for a tunnel under South Cubbington Wood which lies a few metres from the pear tree at the top of a hill overlooking the River Leam. A tunnel could preserve both the wood and the tree, which is a spectacular at blossom time and in a “colourful” autumn like 2013. “Too expensive”, say HS2 Ltd and the Parliamentary Select Committee. Latest news: the pear tree has been shortlisted by the Woodland Trust for the English “Tree of the Year” contest, for which on-line voting begins sometime in September.

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