Rambling across HS2

By Andrew Bodman.

The Ramblers have a map of all the footpaths crossed by HS2. These are classified into green (where a tunnel is planned), yellow (where HS2 uses a viaduct to cross the footpath) and red (where a path crosses the route of HS2 but the Ramblers are not aware of any action taken by HS2 Ltd). There are 132 footpaths in this red classification, 4 yellow and 31 green (total 167).


This map can be enlarged so that it lists all the footpaths affected.

It is possible that the Rambles’ total number may be understated as data from just three of the counties traversed provides the following picture on footpaths/bridleways:

Buckinghamshire 118
Northamptonshire 24
Warwickshire 39
Total 181

(Data from respective county or district councils)

Warwickshire CC has also identified that 33 of the 39 footpath/bridleway crossings for HS2 in its county have not yet had a solution published by HS2 Ltd.

Looking at the Appraisal of Sustainability Main Report Volume 1, HS2 Ltd list only 27 footpaths potentially affected between London and Lichfield. It appears to have only looked at what it terms “strategic” footpaths, although this term is not defined. It goes on to say access would be maintained in most cases.

Actual paragraph:

“8.12.8 The potential severance and/or diversion of strategic footpaths, bridleways, nature trails and cycle paths severed and/or requiring diversion was considered. There would be 27 footpaths (as identified from OS maps) potentially affected, along with six local cycle routes, seven national cycle routes, and one national trail. Although access would be maintained in most cases, it may be temporarily disrupted during construction”.

Later under the heading of “Incorporated mitigation” we find the following:

“All access routes across the proposed scheme would be maintained in the long term where feasible, including roads, footpaths, cycle routes, pedestrian walkways. Disturbance during the construction period would be reduced to a practicable minimum”.

What do we learn from this? HS2 Ltd is unaware of more than 100 footpaths affected and has presumably planned no mitigation for them. They may consider footpaths that are not “strategic” do not have to remain, even though a footpath marked on an OS map indicates a right of way. Of the limited number of footpaths HS2 Ltd has identified, they only intend to maintain their usage “where feasible”. What does where feasible mean? It also demonstrates again how unsatisfactory the Appraisal of Sustainability report was.

HS2 Ltd’s proposed footpath usage census exercise in the summer is a complete waste of money. To only maintain selected footpaths after HS2 is built ignores its obligations under existing rights of way.

Looking at the Appraisal of Sustainability Main Report Volume 2, in section 11a (printed page numbers 24 and 25) it divides the route into sections. For the section Middleton to West Coast Main Line (Lichfield), the following remarks are made:

“There are an additional three (3) crossings of OS footpaths; access would be expected to be maintained with the exception of one which runs along a narrow track”.

So HS2 Ltd has already decided that one particular footpath need not continue because it is on a narrow track. Again this company apparently ignores rights of way.

In conclusion, it appears to me that up to 80% of existing footpaths crossed by the proposed route of
HS2 may be severed, despite the rights of way that exist.

6 comments to “Rambling across HS2”
  1. The problem with the Rambler’s map is that it uses an old route for the proposed HS2. When I contacted the Ramblers about this in May 2012, they said they were reviewing how they take their HS2 campaign forward. So I’ve started to produce a map showing where public rights of way cross the HS2 route that was published in January 2012. I’ve now done 70 crossing points. This includes all the crossing points from Euston to Wendover Dean, from Twyford to Greatworth and some in the area around Waddesdon. I’m not bothering to do crossing points where the HS2 is in a tunnel!

    Go to:
    and zoom in to see the crossing points.

    If you click on one of these crossing points, you can get information such as “the path BM:TWY/16/1 crosses the proposed HS2 at an embankment at 51.936280,-1.031025 (SP667268)” (where I’m using BM to mean Buckinghamshire).

    As well as showing the crossing points with public rights of way, my web site also allows you to see 440 photos that I’ve taken near to these crossing points. And as well as paths, you can display the positions of nature areas and heritage areas on these maps. All this information can be superimposed onto Ordnance Survey maps, OpenStreetMap maps or Google Maps. You can also display a map close to a specific place. And once you’ve done that there are details about how you could include such a map on your own web page.

  2. I applied to our county council to move a minuscule part of a public footpath 10 meters (yes 10) which took it out of a horse training arena and into a clear open field. Perfect and wonderful for all? No:

    Over 10 different officials from the local county council showed up on different occasions. Then we had about 30 people from the local ramblers analyse the whole thing and cause trouble which resulted in complaints being made, against them.

    The whole process took two years and cost me nearly £7,000 in county council costs, advertising and other fees.

    Not 200 meters away from this very same public footpath HS2 blocks another footpath, forever.

    So there we have it: one rule for us the public and another rule for government who do as they damn well please.

    Remember, my shift of route was only 10 meters.

    If we were French we’d be out on the streets bringing the country to a standstill over this HS2 nonsense. But we’re not, we are British and being trampled over by dictatorial government.

    Time to change our Britishness.

    • Actually if we were in France then the scheme would, almost certainly by now, have been well on the way to completion in a much shorter timescale as their planning rules seem to facilitate large projects if the Government considers them to be in the national interest!
      A number of extensions to the present high speed network are at present under construction, connecting at their extremities with the “classic” lines and still others are at the planning stage.
      You may be glad / sorry that you don’t live in France.

    • @Nick Bartram:”Then we had about 30 people from the local ramblers analyse the whole thing and cause trouble which resulted in complaints being made, against them”

      Yes Nick – these protestors causing all sorts of delay and complaining all the time are very annoying aren’t they!

  3. Rights of way like listed buildings seem to no longer matter where the government is concerned.I cannot understand how they can just tear up all the rules and ride roughshod across the land.

    • Because they always have. It’s just that now it affects you, suddenly you’re up unarmed about it.

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