HS2: 12 before & after photos show swathes of countryside near Birmingham carved up for HS2 network

Before and after photos show how once rolling fields, hedgerows and sports clubs have been replaced with bare earth and towering concrete structures due to the HS2 development

Shocking new images show how huge swathes of the scenic English countryside have been 'destroyed' in the construction of the HS2 rail line.

Before and after photos show how once rolling fields, hedgerows and sports clubs have been replaced with bare earth and towering concrete structures. HS2 was originally meant to link up London with Northern cities as far-flung as Manchester and Leeds as part of a 330-mile flagship high-speed rail network.

But after costs spiralled from £37.5bn to more than £180bn, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak decided to only push ahead with a line between the capital and Birmingham only. Recent photos taken in Warwickshire show the impact of the new line on several rural communities - ahead of its completion expected between 2029 and 2033.

One former resident of the village of Kingsbury said he was left devastated by how the ongoing work had "churned up" the once beautiful local area. The man, who did not want to be named, said: "I went back home to visit my parents and was utterly shocked by the impact the development has had.

"Between Junction 9 of the M42 and the village of Kingsbury, the landscape is a scene of destruction. Beautiful homes have been flattened, or left derelict and the once green fields have now been churned up. It's devastating to see."

One of the images shows how the Old Saltleians Rugby Club in Water Orton has been bulldozed to make way for several concrete platforms to house the railway.

Another shows how a grassy paddock near Lea Marston has since been grubbed up and replaced with an expanse of flat brown wasteland. Further images reveal how the luscious rolling farmland surrounding Hunningham Road in Leamington Spa is now a building site, with mounds of gravel and stones.

Other snaps show how the original building for Water Orton Primary School remains boarded up after it was relocated to a new site on the outskirts of the village.

An HS2 spokesperson said the train line would be 'blended' back into the landcsape once the construction work was complete.

They said: “In the short term, building any new infrastructure requires space for construction sites.

"We understand that people are concerned about impacts on the environment, but the railway will be blended back into the landscape in the future – just like HS1, which was constructed through Kent, the ‘garden of England’.

“HS2 is delivering the country’s largest environmental programme - planting 7 million trees and creating 33 square kilometres of wildlife habitats between the West Midlands and London. We have already planted nearly one million trees, with around 400,000 of these planted in Warwickshire.

"Looking ahead, across the whole Midlands region we will plant almost 1,000 hectares of woodland, hedgerow, wildflower grassland and wetland - about the area of 1,300 football pitches.”

Let's take a look at the photos

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