Kingsmead Wood (Kingsmead Spinney) is 5.5 acres of semi-natural ancient woodland between Tattenhoe Park and the Kingsmead housing estate on the south west edge of Milton Keynes (SP824339). The wood and some of the surrounding hedgerows and fields are owned by The Parks Trust.
What to Look For
Kingsmead Wood consists of mixed native hardwoods with spring Bluebells and Wood Anemones. Some of the older Oak and Ash are home to insects, fungi and roosting bats.
The wood contains many resident bird species, and the large fields nearby attract passage migrants such as Meadow Pipit (rare in MK), Wheatear and Ring Ouzel. In winter they are visited by Redwing and Fieldfare, and even Short-eared Owl, while the Alders on the woodland edge may attract Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
In spring and summer the wood is a good place to see Noctule Bats, Common Pipistrelles and Brown Long-eared Bats. All three species use the wood’s twenty or so bat boxes. Muntjac and Roe Deer visit the surrounding fields, and Water Shrew, Badger and Weasel have also been spotted.
All the commoner reptiles and amphibians – including Great Crested Newt and Grass Snake – have been reported from the ponds and streams in and around the wood.
In the warmer months the wood is excellent for butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. In June and July woodland edge flowers attract Marbled White, Essex Skipper, Brown Argus and Red Admiral. You may also see Purple Hairstreak and White-letter Hairstreak (the latter on woodland-edge Wych Elm). Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady have also been seen in late summer and early autumn.
Throughout the summer Azure, Common Blue, and Blue-tailed Damselflies haunt waterside plants, while Southern and Brown Hawker dragonflies patrol the woodland paths. In mild autumns Common Darter and Migrant Hawker may be found to the end of November.
During a study of study of saproxylic insects in 2017, the two fine Oaks at the southern end of the wood and an Ash on the western boundary were found to contain several rare beetle species, including the False Click Beetle – a “flagship species” of ancient woodland.
How to Get There
Kingsmead Wood is next to Guildford Avenue. There is limited parking space at the end of Bronte Avenue near Canterbury Meadows, with paths leading to the wood. Metalled paths and a bridge over the stream within the wood make the site more accessible to the less mobile.