Obituary for the Cubbington Pear Tree

RIP Cubbington Pear Tree 1770 – 2020

By now, all of us have heard about the loss of the Cubbington pear tree on Tuesday. One of the oldest and largest of its kind in the British Isles, HS2’s destruction of this iconic being has come as a blow to all of us. HS2’s reassurances that cuttings will be grown from the tree sound even hollower than the tree itself was, given the utter shambles which their mitigation strategies have so far proven to be.

This was a 10 year struggle fought tooth and nail by the local community. 

Martin, from the local community said:

“I live near to the 250 year old Cubbington Pear Tree and South Cubbington Ancient Wood (which has existed at least since 1600). The destruction of the Pear Tree & a corridor through this Ancient Wood by HS2 is a massive loss to the local community&me. It was an area where people could go to unwind & enjoy/experience the wonders of our diminishing natural world & wildlife.

“What makes its destruction even worse is the fact that a few miles north near Kenilworth the HS2 route was altered to avoid the 16th hole on the Kenilworth Golf Club as it originally went through the 16 hole.

“Although the Cubbington Pear Tree has now been destroyed we must all still keep fighting the madness of HS2”

There was a surprising amount of media attention given to this particular felling from national papers. Renowned nature writer Robert Macfarlane also expressed his dismay on social media, as did the Woodland Trust.  

The Cubbington pear was a living member of our cultural landscape. In its 250 year lifetime, it achieved what many of us hope to; it aged gracefully, went out with a bang, and kept on flowering right until its last spring. 

Charlotte Griffin, who is also from the local area said:

“100s, 1000s, millions of years of history heritage, landscape and biodiversity are being lost, wiped out in minutes by man and machine. For anyone reading this thinking it’s just a / one tree lost, it’s much more than that, symptomatic, symbolic of much of what is wrong with this world today and this seemingly relentless path of (self) destruction we are currently on.”

The death of this charismatic veteran tree is an urgent reminder of what’s at stake in our fight against ecocide. There are tens of thousands of veteran trees still standing, but whose days are numbered because of HS2. Those trees are vital figures in a dynamic web of life; their lives are intimately entangled with the lives of countless birds, fungi, bats, mice, beetles, bees, wasps, deer, badgers, moths, microorganisms, humans, and much, much more. This is especially true of hollow trees like the Cubbington pear, whose memory will serve as a powerful beacon of what we are fighting for.

One thought on “Obituary for the Cubbington Pear Tree

  1. I campaigned with many others to save this tree from HS2 destruction. Despite over 20,000 signatures on a petition representing every one of 650 constituencies in the UK there was no pardon for our pear tree. I felt real grief as a witness to its final minutes. I am only heartened by the exposure this tree has given to others about the devastation HS2 has caused to our ancient trees and woodlands. I will continue to campaign to stop HS2 as its legacy

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