Ten ancient South Yorkshire woodlands are at risk from plans to link Sheffield, Leeds and London with the High Speed 2 rail line, according to an environmental group.
The warning from the Woodland Trust says woods dating back to at least 1600 will be lost if the controversial scheme is given the go-ahead.
Lying directly on the route are three now distinct fragments of Smithy Wood near Chapeltown, which the trust says is in a vulnerable state and is already at risk from a proposal to situate a motorway service station in the area.
Also at risk is Parkin Wood, near Chapeltown, Sunny Bank Wood near Barnsley, and Wombwell Wood. A further four ancient woods face damage as they are very near to the proposed route.
A six-month consultation period on the proposed route ends this Friday, and 25 other woodlands further north on the route have also been identified.
The trust argues that only limited work has been carried out on HS2’s potential environmental impact, which makes it almost impossible to offer a considered judgement about the route.
But its analysis of the current documents shows that many woods, while not directly on the route, will still suffer not only from noise, pollution, shading and dust, but from additional loss of trees when the construction boundaries, utilities works and other details are developed.
Eight conservation areas are also expected to be affected.