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HS2 historical impact assessment project


AIM: To assess the impact of the proposed HS2 high-speed train link on the historic landscapes, towns and villages of Buckinghamshire.


HS2 route across Bucks The planned route of the HS2 high-speed train link between London and Birmingham crosses Buckinghamshire from end to end, crossing the historic landscapes of the Chilterns, the Vale of Aylesbury and the North Bucks villages.

The proposed line enters the county in the south near Denham, follows the Misbourne Valley through the Chilterns to Wendover, passes between Aylesbury and Hartwell House, leaving near Chetwode in the north.

The plans show that construction work for the line will cut through a whole range of historic sites and buildings in Bucks, including a section of the prehistoric Grim's Ditch, sites of known Roman interest and medieval farms. Many more, though not destroyed by the work, will be affected by the introduction of a 250mph rail line into their historic environment.

The HS2 plans have caused considerable controversy, ranging from support on economic grounds to opposition from environmental groups. In Buckinghamshire opposition is most vocal, including the Chiltern Society and the County Council, to name but two.

The aims of this project

The society's HS2 project, however, aims to focus on gathering evidence about the impact that the line would have on the county's historic environments. Whether this evidence would add to arguments for changes to the HS2 Plan, or be used to enable 'rescue' work before its construction, it is clear that without it we may never know the historic value of what might be lost.

The society's HS2 Historical Impact Assessment Project will therefore aim to:

  • Identify sites, buildings and environments that are at risk.
  • Survey key places along the route where the historical impact is likely to be high.
  • Correct inaccuracies in the 'sustainability' case being made by HS2 Limited.
  • Complement the environmental assessment being done by the county's Archaeological Service

Assessing the likely historic impact of HS2

To achieve these ends, the society has and is planning a series of activities along the line's the proposed route across Buckinghamshire.