HS2 to partly destroy ancient monument under Buckinghamshire Council permission

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The company building the HS2 railway will partly destroy an ancient monument after being given permission by Buckinghamshire Council.

The new high-speed line from London to the West Midlands will pass through Grim’s Ditch once it has been built.

The ancient earthwork, which stretches from Bradenham to Berkhamsted for approximately 18km, is thought to date to the Iron Age (800BC – AD43).

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The council said HS2 Ltd had tried to retain as much of the monument as possible and has worked with Historic England on the plans.

An artist's impression on what the area will look like once the track is completedAn artist's impression on what the area will look like once the track is completed
An artist's impression on what the area will look like once the track is completed

It was originally proposed that around 150m (492ft) of earth would be removed, but revised plans have reduced the amount to be excavated to 75m (246ft). This has been achieved by new hidden retaining walls to support the retention monument either side of the railway, according to the council.

Councillor Peter Martin, the council’s deputy cabinet member for HS2 admitted that the approval of excavation works at Grim’s Ditch was a bittersweet moment.

In a statement he said: “Whilst we are pleased that less of Grim’s Ditch will be impacted by the HS2 line passing through the area and that valuable archaeological information can be retrieved during the works, we bitterly regret that damage will be done to any part of this ancient monument.

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“Any potential adverse effects on the landscape character of the area would at least secure benefits to the scheduled monument and, on balance, the council had to give consent for the proposed works.”

Bucks Council revealed that the previous Secretary of State also granted approval for the proposed works under guidance from Historic England.