Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal

Paul Mobbs’ photographic record of his walks around ‘Banburyshire’ and ‘The Irondowns’, and occasionally, as part of his work around Britain, the areas beyond.

‘Last Chance (HS)To See’

The north-western periphery of Banburyshire is about the be changed forever; this is your ‘Last Chance (HS)To See’ these sights before HS2 tears a strip through the local landscape.

Thirty years ago I watched the construction of the M40 slowly gouge a channel through the landscape around Banbury. But, even after the initial scars had softened with the growth of new vegetation, the effects took time to perceive. Without having kept a ‘baseline record’ of the scene before, it was difficult to properly correlate the effects after.

In this section of the Rambles Journal I collect photographs from walks along the route of HS2 before construction begins; as well as the occasional soundscape from along the route. These will, I hope, give a sense of what the landscape was like before, so that we may more accurately consider the impact after.

About ‘Last Chance (HS)To See’

Over the last four decades my ‘local’ ramblings have taken me from the Chilterns up to the edge of Birmingham and Coventry; coincidentally, the route of HS2.

That's also why, when I look at the map of the route, I have an idea of the impacts that HS2 might have upon the landscape – and where I should go to take some representative photographs to show that impact.

As I walk across this area I'll pick out a few representative scenes. Some will be large landscapes that the track will cut through. Others will be a close-up microcosm – a small unique piece of the countryside that will be irrevocably changed as a result of the construction project.

As that's such a large area I'll break the route down into three sections – North, Banbury (Central), and South. The map on the right shows the boundary of each area (click the box to access the index). There is also a page devoted to ‘soundscapes’ where you can listen to recordings of the landscape before HS2 arrives.

And please, if you like the look of these places, go and walk there! This is, after all, 'your last chance to see' before they are changed forever.