HS2's impact on local places

Wildlife Trusts affected by HS2 - links 

There are fourteen Wildlife Trusts along the route of HS2. 

Phase 1: London; Herts and Middlesex; Berks, Bucks and Oxon; Beds, Cambs and Northants; Warwickshire, Birmingham and the Black Country; Staffordshire

Phase 2: Staffordshire; Warwickshire; Cheshire; Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside; Leicestershire and Rutland; Derbyshire; Nottinghamshire; Sheffield; Yorkshire


The London Wildlife Trust estimates that approximately 150 hectares of wildlife habitat in the Greater London area is likely to be lost or damaged by the new rail line. Although, HS2 pledges to create a new or enhanced habitat to mitigate for this damage, the result will still incur a loss of 51 hectares of habitat.
Furthermore, 18 wildlife sites will be also be affected including Perivale Wood, established as a nature reserve in 1902 and noted for its bluebells. Meanwhile, the Heathrow spur line is likely to directly impact Gutteridge Wood nature reserve – an important side for birds and wildflowers, and the Colne and Yeading Brooke Valleys.

More information from The London Wildlife Trust

Herts & Middlesex Wildlife

The proposed railway will cross and severely impact the Mid-Colne Valley SSSI. Work includes the construction of a viaduct over the Grand Union Canal, River Colne and numerous Colne Valley lakes, including the Wildlife Trust’s Broadwater Lake Nature Reserve – a 80 hectare site renowned internationally for the diversity of breeding wetland birds and the numbers of wintering waterbirds such as gadwall, shoveler and great crested grebe. Broadwater Lake is also one of the most important sites in the UK for daubenton’s and pipistrelle bats – both which are European Protected Species.

More information from the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Berks, Bucks & Oxon

More than 50 designated wildlife sites in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire are likely to be directly impacted by the HS2 route including ancient woodlands, tranquil meadows and valuable wetlands. Of these sites, 29 are of county importance for wildlife while four are of national importance.

The planned route that will cut through Weedonhill, Lotts and Pipers Woods will replace mature and ancient trees with concrete, steel and gravel. Furthermore, the route will plough through Calvert Jubilee - a nature reserve managed by The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust – a site crucial for vast numbers of waterfowl, rare butterflies and orchids that depend on the lake’s surrounding special grassland habitat.

More information from the The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust

Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire

In south Northamptonshire, the route could destroy at least eight wildlife sites of county importance including ancient forests, medieval parkland and limestone grassland. Among these include Halse Copse North and South – ancient woodland vital for supporting wildflowers and Fox Covent - precious ancient woodland that is home to great bird and insect diversity. The HS2 route will also cut though a neutral grassland site – an already disappearing habitat crucial for wildflowers and pollinators. A further ten important wildlife sites also lie within 500m of the route.

Overall, the HS2 route will result in the loss of ponds, field margins, ditches and considerable lengths of hedgerows across the region - all habitats that combine to create vital wildlife habitat networks.

More information from The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire


Up to 90 sites of wildlife importance could be adversely affected by the direct and indirect impacts of the HS2 route which is set to cut through Warwickshire and Solihull, with at least 80 of these sites holding county importance.

The planned route will cut across numerous major watercourses, ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows, sadly brining subsequent effects on their associated species. Among these include the Tame Valley – the largest expanse of interconnected wetlands in the county and a regionally important migratory bird route for species passing between the Humber and the Severn estuaries. This area is inclusive of several SSSI’s which would be particularly vulnerable to impacts from construction, hydrology or fragmentation, which could result in significant cumulative impact on the biodiversity of Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull.

More information from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Birmingham & the Black Country

Locally, HS2 will have a particularly significant impact on The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country's Park Hall nature reserve, a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation at Water Orton. With over 600 metres of viaduct scheduled to split the reserve into two, the reserve will lose large amounts of ancient woodland, realign 1,600m of the River Tame and remove access to the reserve.

More information from The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country


The proposed route for HS2 navigates a path through one of the greatest concentrations of Ancient Woodland sites in Lichfield District including Vicar’s Coppice, Ravenshaw Wood, Black Slough and Slaish, Tomhay Wood and Big Lyntus, which combined, cover approximately 52 hectares. These woodlands, which run parallel to the Trent and Mersey Canal creates an important ecological corridor for a range of species including bats and woodland wildflowers.

The proposed route will also bisect Whittington Heath – a 60 hectare lowland heath site situated in an ecologically significant area between Cannock Chase and Sutton Park. Furthermore, the route will make 33 river and stream crossings, and cut through 18 ponds. Several hundred hedgerows would be severed by the line.

More information from The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

Sheffield and Rotherham

An analysis of the proposed route through Sheffield and Rotherham using a 50m buffer either side of the track, has identified that 12 local wildlife sites (totalling 329 hectares), including three ancient woodlands will be impacted. Among these woodlands include Smithy Wood, and irreplaceable site that is of considerable and significant historical, archaeological, heritage, landscape and biodiversity value.

Overall, the loss and significant fragmentation of 12 local sites and more than 329 hectares will have a considerable impact on the Network for Nature that runs through Sheffield – a network that is constantly under erosion.

More information from Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust


The planned HS2 route will affect 31 Local Wildlife Sites across Derbyshire within the 1km corridor that will be created around the line during construction. Of particular concern is Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Carr Vale Nature Reserve near Bolsover, one of the most important bird reserves in Derbyshire, with regular sightings of rarities. In 2013, around 146 bird species were recorded here, while the reserve also provides crucial habitat for grass snakes and a number of dragonflies, including county rarities such as red-veined darter and common hawker.

More information from The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust