A bridge divides the lake into two very different areas. The larger area to the west of the bridge is an expanse of open water with two islands. The smaller one is totally covered with willows, poplars, Hawthorn and Blackthorn which provide safe cover for nesting and roosting birds. Grey Heron nest there and can be observed from the cycle redway. Woodpigeons congregate there. The larger island is more open and on its south side can be viewed from a conveniently placed seat. Herons, geese and ducks preen themselves in the sunny aspect. On this island there are wooden sculptures Silhouetted Portals by Wendy Hitchings – which have proved popular with the resident bird population and are used by gulls as vantage points.
The smaller area to the south-east of the bridge has a wide range of marginal plants and is more shaded and sheltered. It has a boardwalk from which observations can be made.
Furzton Lake was created to act as a basin for flood waters during rainy spells and was constructed when the Furzton estate was being developed in the 1980s, and incorporated a disused, water-filled clay pit. The lake has matured into an easily accessible and peaceful oasis for local residents, office workers and wildlife. Easy access and good pathways make it a popular choice for joggers, cyclists and walkers.
The Triple Star Head sculpture by Romanian artist Paul Neagu provides a striking landmark at Furzton. It stands high on a shrubby knoll and is shaped like a comet with its tail erupting from the earth. This was given to the people of Milton Keynes by the people of Canada. There is a very good overview of the larger lake from this vantage point.
Furzton Lake and the surrounding park are managed by Milton Keynes Parks Trust.
What to look for
Bird life that can be seen on the larger section of the lake includes Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, (with occasional hybrids), Mallard and Mallard cross, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Grey Heron and Cormorant. A Kingfisher may sometimes be seen on the smaller section of the lake.
Apart from these waterbirds, in summer, Swallow and House Martin may be seen flying over the lake and migrant Reed or Sedge Warbler can be heard from the reedbed, while Whitethroat may be singing in the areas of scrub. Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird and Song Thrush may be seen all year round.
Near to the south-eastern part of the lake the path leads round to another pond crossed by a bridge from which can be seen water plants, dragonflies and damselflies in season. Near the boardwalk frog spawn is usually present in the spring.
The plant life is much affected by the grazing Canada Geese and also the mowing in some areas. Either of these may be responsible for the fact that, although there are plenty of Bee Orchid plants to be seen at the site, their flower spikes rarely grow to maturity. There are also a few locations where the Common Spotted-orchid may be found.
In other areas there are plants such as Ragged Robin, Meadow Vetchling, Greater Spearwort, Yellow Water-lily, Marsh Marigold, Smooth and Hairy Tares, Gipsywort, several species of sedge, rush and grass. Some areas were seeded when the area was landscaped and flowers, not originally present, are now firmly established.
Furzton Lake species glossary
The scientific names of all the species mentioned for Furzton Lake can be found in order of appearance in this species glossary
How to get there
Furzton Lake is located in the Furzton grid square and is bordered by V4 Watling Street, Shirwell Crescent, Bilbrook Lane and Lynmouth Crescent. The lake is to the south-west of the V4 Watling Street and south-east of the H7 Chaffron Way. Pedestrian access to all areas around the lake is good. Disabled and wheelchair visitors can use a good surface all around the lake.
The National cycle route No. 51 passes through the area.
There are three car parks serving the lake and all are free.
Off the V4 with an entrance almost opposite the Bowl.
Off the H7. Take the turning to the Furzton Lake Hotel and the car park is indicated. There is a bird-feeding station near here.
Off Lynmouth Drive.
If you are using the facilities of the Furzton Lake Hotel, it too has its own large car park.
The nearest public transport
Bus number 7 bus passes near to the western end of the lake at half-hourly intervals. Ask to be dropped off at Billbrook Lane.
Bus number 28 hourly Hail and Ride service passes near the eastern end of the lake. Ask to be dropped off at Barleycroft on Favell Drive. Walk to the end of this cul-de-sac and turn right along a footpath beside the allotments to reach the lake.
Places of interest nearby
- This is a lake where fishing is allowed and competitions are held here. All round the lake there are permitted areas. Little tents and rods and lines are a common sight.
- Model Boat enthusiasts have an area reserved for them with a pontoon they can operate from and buoys in the water.
- Milton Keynes Parks Trust organises walks and other activities.