The Cubbington pear in Warwickshire was voted England’s Tree of the Year in 2015 but despite years of protest it is now awaiting the chop! The very rare lonesome pear is now to be sacrificed on the alter of progress. The high speed railway project HS2 is steaming through the countryside taking out any plant life in its path. Destruction is now about to restart after postponement during the corona virus lockdown in March.
The Cubbington pear is the second largest Pyrus Pyrester in England with a girth over three metres – a veteran of some two hundred and fifty years. Located in the hedgerow in the south east corner of South Cubbington Wood it has been valued over the years and protected as a parish boundary marker. Multi-stemmed, it was probably coppiced in its infancy as part of the field hedgerow.
If it was a cathedral, would it be knocked down for a railway? If it was an ancient monument such as Stonehenge, it would be bypassed. If it was a listed building would it be raised to the ground? Why do we venerate what humans build but not the natural world which provides the environment we live in? Ancient trees such as this need to be loved and protected to show us how important the natural world is to our sense of being, and to root us in reason.
LONG LIVE THE PEAR
When the Cubbington pear was earmarked for destruction a memorial pear was planted on the Ashridge Estate – now in its third year in the arboretum. In years to come eagle-eyed visitors will spot it in springtime on the Ivinghoe common, protected from deer predation by its thorns. Like its domesticated cousin the pear flowers before it leafs. It makes for a compact handsome addition to any garden with its glossy leaves and vivid autumn colours.