The real ef­fects of high speed line

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - LIFE & LEISURE - How will the build­ing of HS2 af­fect your us­age of the Colne Val­ley Coun­try Park? Email us at buck­snews@trin­i­

TOM Jef­freys is a free­lance writer and cu­ra­tor, orig­i­nally from Che­sham Bois in Buck­ing­hamshire, and now based in Helsinki. In Novem­ber he de­cided to walk the pro­posed route of HS2 from London to Birm­ing­ham to find out more about its im­pact upon in­di­vid­u­als, com­mu­ni­ties and the land­scape. His long-term in­ten­tion is to write a book on the sub­ject.

He said: “After walk­ing the route of HS2, my over­all im­pres­sion is of the sheer di­ver­sity of the land­scapes af­fected – from in­ner-city London, through suburbia, then out into the rolling hills of the Chilterns and the pic­turesque vil­lages of Northamp­ton­shire and War­wick­shire.

“I grew up in Che­sham Bois and con­tinue to play cricket reg­u­larly for Hyde Heath so I’m well aware of the attractions of the Bucks land­scape.

“The big­gest sur­prise was the Colne Val­ley Park, which I had never vis­ited be­fore.

“After the best part of two days walk­ing through largely res­i­den­tial ar­eas, the Colne Val­ley was a breath of fresh air, quite lit­er­ally: There I saw all man­ner of birdlife in­clud­ing a spar­rowhawk and a king­fisher.

“Sit­u­ated on the ur­ban fringe, it is a fas­ci­nat­ing ecosys­tem, and man­i­festly popular with ram­blers, school groups and many oth­ers.

“The im­pact of HS2 could be cat­a­strophic.”

Frank Par­tridge from Den­ham against HS2 is another who feels strongly about the po­ten­tial im­pact on the Colne Val­ley from the con­struc­tion of the rail line.

Mr Par­tridge led a protest walk along the tow­path of the Grand Union Canal against the high speed rail link in March 2012 and it was so suc­cess­ful that the walk has now be­come an an­nual event.

He said: “We’ll be or­gan­is­ing another one in the spring of 2015, dur­ing the run-up to the Gen­eral Elec­tion. The first walk at­tracted 375 pro­tes­tors.”

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