On a day that the government announced a review of the spending of HS2, I revisited my continuing project on the damage to 16 Acre wood near to Berkswell. I first started taking pictures of this small wood in March 2021 and revisited the area in 2022. The spiralling costs of HS2 have made the headlines and there is talk of scrapping parts of the line from Birmingham to Manchester. These pictures show that so much alteration of the land has taken place that reversal of the project would leave so much scarring. Keeping the project going is the lesser of the two evils.
The footpath in Berkswell skirts around the wood and you are fenced off so that you are not allowed to wander onto the working HS2 area. This is understandable as there are large land moving equipment on the site and the signs are very explicit about trespassing. The former farmer’s field now resembles an assault course with deep trenches and large mountains of soil. The edges of the 16 acre wood look sad and tired following destruction of the trees at the edge of the wood. The old pond still looks on over the fields although today the wind was strong and this meant there was little insect life showing on the water. The new artificial pond created by the contractors is populated with reeds and rushes but again the signs and the barriers do make it look as if there is something special going on in the area.
I found this view of the wood back in 2011. The place looks so peaceful, blissfully unaware what would take place a decade later.
As it was a Sunday, there was little activity so the large trucks and cranes were all quiet resting until the start of the week when they will begin again. I took more pictures and the main changes were around the amount of earth that had been moved since I was last here.
My next visit in 2024 will reveal what further progress has been made and whether they are any closer to completing the line.