High Speed 2 has unveiled new designs which show how the area around the River Cole in Warwickshire could be transformed for local amenity benefit.
Two viaducts will be built near Coleshill and the landscape around them will create new public spaces with footpaths and cycleways. Heritage in the area includes a medieval deer park, the Tudor Coleshill Manor and expansive Elizabethan garden which HS2 archaeologists recently uncovered.
The latest designs for the structures include reducing the height of the western viaduct from 10 metres to four metres, cutting materials used by 36% and the carbon footprint of the structure by just over a quarter. Changing the girder from concrete to steel will reduce material use by being 97% recycled. Natural habitats will be created for wildlife and access to water will create opportunities for fishing and walks around the river. Habitats will be created for amphibians, dragonflies, otters, great crested newts, reptiles and badgers.
North of the viaducts, embankments around Coleshill Manor will be planted with woodlands designed to complement existing vegetation, while at Chattle Hill near the Water Orton viaducts, there are plans for a “blossom walk” to link a new community orchard and allotment areas along with the planting of fruit trees and herbs for foraging.