Just beyond Edgcote Park there's one of our typical 'upwelling' springs in a small valley. Water just seems to bubble up from the ground, making it very boggy. Though some might have been turned into small ponds for livestock, many have been deliberately drained over recent years.
As I walk towards the stile I begin to sink, and sink, and then sink some more. When the saturated ground is halfway up my shins I decide that retreat and circumnavigation is the best option. Once more though my feet are saved from an early bath by my gaiters.
Under the current proposal the footpath will divert right from the style, downhill, where it will run under the end of Edgcote Viaduct back across to Welsh Lane. It is proposed to replace some of the lost area with a 'wetland' on the other side of the cutting – though what that consists of is not specified.
Springs like this are essential to wildlife. Especially during drought, they can be one of the few water sources available. The problem is that when the line crosses this small valley a few tens of metres up hill, in a cutting, chances are that it will affect the hydrology that feeds this spring, perhaps cutting it off.
The value of the 'replacement' wetland is also suspect as the 'dry' railway cutting severs it from the acquatic habitat of the River Cherwell.
Of course one spring doesn't mean a whole lot; but over the course of its route HS2 will cut off hundreds of water courses like this. As a cumulative impact, that is significant.