In recent years there have been many protests about the plan to build a high speed railway line out of London, cutting through the Chiltern Hills not very far from where I live. Groups such as the Chiltern Countryside Group are protesting at the need to destroy beautiful countryside and important wild life habitats should be destroyed so that people can save a few minutes by travelling in railway carriages on a brand new railway to the Midland.
|Clearing a way for travelling boxes|
I have been walking rural footpaths near Tring for over 45 years, including the footpath behind the temporary wooden fence on the left of the picture. For most of these years the area between the path and the hedge on the right was a wilderness of hedgerow type trees and shrubs, full of birds nesting in the summer and feeding off the natural larder of berries in the winter.
Most days I take a rural walk and today the area has been cleared and the builders were at work - and I have yet to see a word of protest in the local paper.
|A recently restored section of the Wendover Arm|
In fact the view will look a lot better in a year or two, as the area in this picture shows a place which looked very similar two years ago.
The history is that over two hundred years ago a new canal (now the Grand Union Canal) was built between London and the Midlands, and a branch canal - the Wendover Arm - was built to collect extra water at the Tring Summit. About 100 years ago the branch was closed and is currently being restored by the Wendover Arm Trust.
|The reopened section at Little Tring|
Hopefully in a few more years the restored section will be open as far as Buckland Wharf, and floating boxes called narrowboats will be seen slowly cruising between the hedgerows
The loss of wild life habitat may be regretted - but the restoration will open up several extra miles of canal as far as Buckland Wharf.
|The disused canal as a chalk stream near Wendover|