New anti-HS2 group aim to protect 'magical' woodland in Steeple Claydon

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A resistance with a difference began against HS2 last Saturday when a group of five campaigners stationed themselves on a farm just outside the village of Steeple Claydon.

The group, operating under the working titles of 'The Poors Piece Conservation Project' or 'The Poors Piece Protection Project' have the full support of the landowner to stay on the land and have already gained the backing of local anti-HS2 campaign group 'Anti-HS2 SOC (Save Our Countryside)'.

Poors Piece is a strip of land, including ancient woodland, on Rosehill Farm, owned by Clive Higgins, which falls on the HS2 route.

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In the video above, Frank Mahon, member of Anti-HS2 SOC (Save Our Countryside), can be heard giving a rousing speech to the new arrivals to the village, thanking them for their efforts in resisting the construction of the high speed rail line.

The Poors Piece Conservation ProjectThe Poors Piece Conservation Project
The Poors Piece Conservation Project

He says: “Having been protesting myself, I've seen how protests work, and I just wanted to give an insight that actually these are just normal people believing in a cause and you guys are doing a magnificent job – thank you.”

A spokesperson for the group told The Bucks Herald: “Our goal here is to help the landowner in conserving this beautiful strip of land. This area is still very much alive - there are animals and nests everywhere. We've seen owls flying overhead at dusk and dawn. It's magical and we want to keep it that way."

Landowner Clive Higgins said to us: "They're here for a dual purpose; to observe HS2 and its contractors, and to protect the ancient woodland of Poors Piece.

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“They're very nice, intelligent people who care about the state of nature and the countryside so they will get all the support they need from me within the law."

Poors Piece campaign sitePoors Piece campaign site
Poors Piece campaign site

Mr Higgins went on to explain to us that they will also be helping with lambing and sheep shearing on his farm.

The group spokesperson added: “We want to live symbiotically with the land, that's very important to us. We're peaceful people - we're here for the wildlife and the locals."

Both Mr Higgins and the group spokesperson also stressed the importance of following covid-19 rules.

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The campaigners told us that they have been living as a household at another site, have placed warning signs on the nearby public footpath warning of their presence, and have installed hand sanitisers at the entrances to the area.

The group's dog AW Potts!The group's dog AW Potts!
The group's dog AW Potts!

The landowner confirmed: "Thames Valley Police came over, had a look at what's been established and are entirely happy that covid-19 regulations, has far as one is able to understand them from a very muddled Government position, are being strictly adhered to."

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