The High Speed 2 (more commonly known as the HS2) is a railway under construction to connect London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester. As you can imagine the 330-mile train line will cause major damage to England’s woodlands and natural habitats.

The track is planned to tear through at least 19 ancient woodlands in South Yorkshire alone, with the biggest patch being 4.1 hectares of irreplaceable land. We also stand to lose the animal life in the area as well as the land. However, an HS2 spokesperson stated that: “The HS2 aims to be one of the most environmentally-responsible infrastructure projects ever delivered in the UK.” That’s despite cutting through six wildlife parks local to me, as well as a nature reserve in the South Yorkshire area. This massacre of the habitats in England will inevitably result in a decline of wild bird numbers, including songbirds like sparrows, skylarks and wrens. This could lead to massive consequences, like disturbing the food pyramid of England’s wildlife, leaving predators with no prey to hunt.

The HS2 is also affecting many local shoots around Yorkshire, including my own. The train line plans to mow down two of our main drives on Birklodge Shoot, completely tearing it in half. When asked his opinion, our gamekeeper Anthony said: “I honestly believe it will be end of the shoot, due to the disruption and mayhem the train line will cause to our drives and by breaking through our pens and major drives on the shoot.” However, it won’t just affect the shoot syndicate but also the land owners who state that: “it cuts our land in half. We also lose more land used for cattle rearing. Also, deer now breed on our land and this will push them away, leaving them a target for poachers. But because the government compulsory purchases the land we can’t do anything about it.”

With the major loss of these nature reserves and ancient woodlands, is the HS2 a risk worth taking?

Cody Hamilton

Hello, my names Cody and I’m 14 and live in South Yorkshire. First I would like to thank my Dad for leading me on to shooting. I’m part of a shooting syndicate at Braithwell were I have met many amazing people in the past five years. I would like to say thank you to the gamekeeper Anthony Harrison for running the shoot and to everyone involved. I love every aspect of shooting, right down to cleaning the birds and cooking what we shoot. However, my favourite part is watching the dogs work as I love to see them find and pick up birds. I’ve been looking for a chance to get involved with BASC ever since becoming a member, amazingly I was on the Young Shots page in 2016 and now I wrote an article which got published on the website. I hope you enjoy the article!

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