AN award-winning ancient pear tree has been felled to make way for HS2.

The 250-year-old Cubbington pear, a famous local landmark and England’s ‘Tree of the Year’ in 2015, was thought to be the second-oldest wild pear tree in the country.

Located in a hedgerow on the outskirts of Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, it had become a focal point for the ongoing battle against the high-speed railway line by environmental campaigners.

Forestry Journal:

A petition to save the tree from the axe had received more than 21,500 signatures.

Campaign group Save Cubbington Woods Stop HS2 said: “HS2 has felled the iconic Cubbington pear tree. A tree much loved by the local community. A familiar place for walkers to take shelter from wind, rain and sun. Part of our heritage and landscape. England Tree of the Year 2015. A home for precious biodiversity.

“It has also become symbolic with much of the stop HS2 campaign and representative of all that we fight and peacefully protest for. Not just stopping the ill-conceived madness of HS2 but the destruction of our wild spaces, our natural world all adding to the climate and ecological crisis.

“For anyone reading this thinking it’s just one tree, it’s much more than that, symbolic of much of what is wrong with this world today and this seemingly relentless path of destruction we are currently on.”

Forestry Journal:

A response from the Department for Transport said: “HS2 Ltd explored all possible options to avoid removing the tree, but due to its age and condition, removal cannot be avoided.”

It added that more than 40 new trees have been grown from cuttings taken from the tree, and the regrown saplings would be planted in the local area, while “the stump and rooting structure will be relocated providing an opportunity for the parent tree to regrow”.

Forestry Journal:

HS2 said the tree would live on in the form of saplings grown from cuttings.

The proposed high-speed line will link London with Birmingham, but has been criticised due to its rising cost and planned route through areas of countryside.