Cubbington Woods

South Cubbington Wood forms part of the Princethorpe Woods complex which is the largest concentration of semi-natural ancient woodland in Warwickshire. A particular rarity of the site is the presence of wild service trees, which only tend to be found in ancient woodland. Seven species of bats have been recorded at South Cubbington – common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, Nathusius’ pipistrelle, Leisler’s, noctule, Daubenton’s and brown long-eared. A spectacular carpet of wood anemones appears each spring. Grasslands between the wood and the River Leam are home to numerous butterflies and ground-nesting skylarks.

A woodland is classified as ‘ancient’ if records show that the land here has been wooded for four centuries or more. Ancient woodland has been around for so long it has developed special communities of plants and animals not found elsewhere. It’s an important habitat and in sore need of protection.

Cubbington residents particularly treasured an extraordinary 250 year old wild pear tree, which stood at the edge of the wood overlooking the Leam. It was voted Tree of the Year in 2015. Despite a national campaign to save it and a 20,000 signature petition to parliament, the pear tree was torn down by HS2 on 20 October 2020.

At the time of writing Cubbington Woods is completely inaccessible to the public, fenced in by HS2 railings, with all footpaths diverted.

Engines of destruction: Wind whistles through the steel fences, a digger passes, no birds sing. Cubbington, spring 2021
‘Polypore.’ Cotswold Limestone. 30 x 30 x 20cm
‘Polypore.’ Cotswold limestone. 30 x 30 x 20cm
‘Polypore.’ Cotswolsd Limestone 30 x 30 x 20cm

Carved by hand from local Cotswold Stone, ‘Polypore’ responds to the forms of fungi found in Cubbington and other local woodlands. The abrupt slash in the form echoes the gouge made by HS2 in the grasslands around the river Leam and through the wood itself.

‘Tunnel,’ Clay maquette photographed on location in grassland near Cubbington Woods. HS2 tunellling damages the aquifers which provide our drinking water.
‘Bud of Wild Service tree.’ Pencil and watercolour with digital background.
‘Bark of the Wild Service Tree.’ Ink and watercolour. 30 x 21 cm

‘Heart,’ acrylic paint. 60 x 50cm

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