Our position on East West Rail Bedford to Cambridge route options
Wimpole Hall and the Grade 1 listed parkland in which it sits is one of the most widely recognised historic places cared for by the National Trust in the East of England. It is admired for its breath-taking scale and unrivalled in its dramatic views of the Cambridgeshire countryside. The landscape here provides a home for a huge variety of wildlife and offers a much-loved place for both the local community and visitors from further afield to explore.
East West Rail is creating a new rail connection between Oxford and Cambridge. On 28 January the consultation stage looking at routes for the proposed East West Rail scheme began.
Of the five proposed routes, three of them would have an impact on the landscape at Wimpole Estate, running close to or across the iconic and historically significant South Avenue (these are routes A, C and D as detailed on the East West Rail website). We have been clear throughout the process to date that we would oppose any proposal that would damage Wimpole Estate or its setting.
Historic significance of Wimpole's South Avenue
The renowned garden designer, Charles Bridgeman, extended the South Avenue across the roman road in 1721. The avenue is 4 kilometres (2.5miles) long and an iconic Cambridgeshire landscape feature (as shown in the below image), to the south of the Hall. Many parts of the estate have been redesigned since Bridgeman by designers such as Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton. All of them recognised the value and beauty of the South Avenue and left it just as they found it.
We strongly urge East West Rail to look at other options that avoid damaging this historic Estate. Whilst we recognise the need for improved public transport, we are clear that we will oppose any scheme that will irreparably damage such a wonderful place when alternatives are available.
We will continue to actively work with all those involved to ensure that the special nature of this part of the country and the places we look after are safeguarded for future generations to enjoy.
East West Rail consultation
The consultation for this phase closes on 11 March. To find out more on the options being proposed, including the three routes which will impact Wimpole (A, C and D), when consultation meetings are taking place and to have your say, please visit the East West Rail consultation website.