A battle cry is echoing across the Warwickshire countryside as residents from villages and towns lining the proposed high speed route join forces to fight the plans.

Homeowners believe the environmental costs are too high a price to pay for the Birmingham to London express service and do not want a swathe cut through the countryside.

They fear trains will shatter the tranquillity of middle England as they carve their way through Buckinghamshire and the Chilterns before speeding north through villages in Warwickshire and Solihull borough.

Scores of concrete viaducts will scar the landscape to carry the lines over rivers and wetlands while 440 homes across the country will be flattened.

They include as many as ten in the tiny village of Burton Green, between Balsall Common and Kenilworth.

The last trains which came through the village were powered by steam and stopped during Dr Beeching’s infamous cuts of the 1960s.

But dismayed locals are steeling themselves to fight tooth and nail after learning that the long-abandoned track forms part of the new route.

Gayle Clemett and husband Nigel moved in to a house on Cromwell Lane three years ago and have spent thousands of pounds on an extension.

“The line will come straight through our kitchen according to the plans,” said the 54-year-old. “We moved here from Balsall Common because the house has got six acres of land and our daughters can ride their horses.

“We never had any idea this was coming. We are absolutely devastated. Our house will probably be bought off us but I feel for the people who will have their gardens right up against the tracks.

“There will be a huge bridge coming through Burton Green which will ruin its character.

“The village will get together and we will fight this.”

The chairman of Burton Green Residents Association, Chris Langton, was away in Australia when news of the plans broke and said he was inundated with e-mails and phone calls.

Mr Langton said locals could boast a track record for sending outsiders packing with their unwanted plans after successfully battling plans for a coal mine at nearby Hawkhurst Moor.

“My worry is that if you don’t make your voice heard very early on, these things can slip in under the radar,” he said.

“We haven’t met to discuss this yet but the impression I get is that people will be very keen to fight it with whatever we have got.

“If it made more sense at a national level, I don’t think people would be as upset but spending £500 for every man, woman and child in the country on a rail line that only a minority of people will use does not make sense.”

From Burton Green, the line will head north between the commuter belt villages of Berkswell and Balsall Common.

Parish councillors said they believed a minority of residents would be happy at the prospect of reaching London in 38 minutes from Birmingham International station. But they said that most will be furious about the noise created by the trains and the loss of picturesque views across the Meriden Gap.

Richard Lloyd, chairman of Berkswell Parish Council, said: “It’s hard to imagine the impact but certainly it would be pretty severe.

“The proposal is to have a viaduct over the valley and that would be a disaster because we have got some beautiful countryside round here.

“Something which leaves a line of environmental damage in its path is a crazy idea and this is clearly the wrong route.

“We will fight with everything we have got to stop this.”

Judy Lea, vice chairman of Balsall Common Parish Council, added: “I don’t think a lot of people have seen the plans in detail yet but there will be some consternation.

“Better access to the Midlands has got to be a good thing but not at any cost and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a very big issue for years to come.”

Before reaching a new multimillion pound terminal at Birmingham Airport the line will pass close to Hampton-in-Arden and within 200 yards of houses on Diddington Lane.

Resident Marshall Blair said villagers already had to put up with the dual blight of noise from the airport and the West Coast Mainline which runs to the west.

“It will be pretty much unbearable with this on top,” he said. “I’ve looked very closely at the plans and it comes within 190 yards of my garden.

“We’ve got beautiful views here and the new line would absolutely ruin that because it would be raised on two long viaducts in and out of the village.

“I just do not think people here care about getting to London in 30 minutes.”

North and east of Birmingham the line is likely to hit the same level of opposition as it passes through Water Orton, Lichfield and Middleton.

The line is due to speed just to the north of the Belfry golf club through Middleton House Farm, which Robert Davies owns with brother Gordon.

He fears 17 acres of ancient woodland which is designated an area of historic interest will be split in two by the plans.

“The line goes right through the bungalow where I have been living for 30 years,” he said. “We were stunned because it was only when a tenant called me in to the office that we knew anything about this.

“We sold our dairy herd because we weren’t making any money from it and we diversified in to bed and breakfast but I don’t think anyone will want to come and stay if all they can see is concrete supports.

“We have got a meeting with our MP to see where we go from here but at the moment, we are getting ready to fight.”

>More: MPs join the High Speed Rail backlash