Leamington campaigner against HS2 hails success of Walk the Line protest

Matt Bishop and his mother Gerry at the end of the walk.
Matt Bishop and his mother Gerry at the end of the walk.

Campaigner against HS2 Matt Bishop has hailed the “great success” of his protest walk along the route the high speed rail line will take when it is built.

Matt, 52, who lives in Leamington, set off on his walk from Cubbington to London at the end of April and spoke to and was joined by people in villages and towns along the way who will be affected by the controversial project.

His mother Gerry , 72, who lives in Eathorpe, also joined him on the walk.

The walk ended at Euston Station at the beginning of May and received national news coverage with the BBC holding a press conference.

Matt said: “Fundamentally it was a great success.

“When I set out to do it I had no idea what was going to come out of it.

“I did it for personal reasons because I was so shocked by how stupid the project is and the impact it will have on so many people and communities.

“It bothers me to see local countryside being destroyed.”

Along the way Matt regularly updated his Walk the Line Facebook page with videos and posts to raise more awareness of his protest and document the effect HS2 is having and will have on those living along the route.

Matt said: “I feel as if some people have given up on the campaign which has been going on for nine years.

Matt Bishop and his mother Gerry are joined by fellow campaigner at the end of the walk at Euston Station in London.

Matt Bishop and his mother Gerry are joined by fellow campaigner at the end of the walk at Euston Station in London.

“I wanted to inspire others that we can still do something and I found that so many of them were grateful for what I was doing and that somebody cared.

“It’s incredible to think that the Government can just seize land and for it to be able to tell people they have to be out of their houses by August and things like that - how can ordinary people be treated like that?

“I learned that 43 of the 51 parish councils along the line have signed a letter telling the Government they don’t want HS2 ... do we really live in a democracy?”

Matt has organised a family fun day and picnic to help raise awareness of the impact of the HS2 development on the Crackley Woods Nature Reserve on the edge of Kenilworth.

Matt Bishop and his mother Gerry at the end of the walk.

Matt Bishop and his mother Gerry at the end of the walk.

The event will take place on Sunday June 2 from 11.30am to 2.30pm.

It will include a guided (10-15 minute) walk to show people other nearby threatened ancient woodlands impacted by the HS2 project.

Matt said: “The message is if people want to save Crackley Woods they need to come on the day, and they need to sign the petition online.

“At the moment the petition only has about 20,000 signatures.

“We shouldn’t be losing any of our woodland at this time.

“The existing Government has declared a climate emergency.

Anyone interested in attending the event or in Matt’s campaign can visit the Walk the Line – Stop HS2 Facebook page.

More than 50 people have already confirmed their attendance, and more than 300 have shown an interest.