Linford Wood is a 39 acre Local Wildlife Site site to the north of Milton Keynes city centre, near Stantonbury and Heelands. This easily-accessible woodland contains six ponds and has a good range of wildlife throughout the year. Map
Enclosed as a deer park in 1284, most of Linford Wood is at least 700 years old and qualifies as Ancient Woodland. From before 1531 most of the wood, apart from its western edge, was managed by coppicing; but by the 20th Century this had ceased, and most of the standard Oaks had been removed. The wood had became semi-derelict and overgrown when, in the 1930s, the Forestry Commission planted non-native trees at its southern end. In 1971, Milton Keynes Development Corporation began restoring the wood, but also planted some species not typical of the area, such as Hornbeam. In 1992 The Parks Trust took ownership, bringing it back to coppice-with-standards with shelter-belts, so that distinctive Ancient Woodland Indicator plants and associated wildlife could flourish.
What To Look For
Good for wildlife at any time of the year, Linford Wood is noted for its flora, especially in the spring.
Linford Wood consists predominantly of Ash, Pedunculate Oak and Field Maple with an understorey of Hazel, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Goat Willow, Grey Willow. and Bramble, plus a scattering of Holly, Crab Apple, Aspen, Wild Cherry and Redcurrant. It also contains a few specimens of Wild Service-tree, Guelder-rose, Field Rose, Honeysuckle, Spindle and Wild Privet. The ground flora is particularly rich in spring, and includes many Ancient Woodland Indicator species such as Bluebell, Wood Anemone, Dog’s Mercury, Herb Paris, Yellow Archangel, Hairy St John’s-wort, Broad-leaved Helleborine, Early-purple Orchid, Greater Butterfly Orchid, Hairy-brome, Wood-sedge and Remote Sedge. Other, more common, spring species include Primrose, Common Dog-violet, Early Dog-violet, Lesser Celandine and Greater Stitchwort. Other notable flowering plants that can be found in small numbers are Pignut, Sanicle, Common Figwort and Betony, Stinking Iris, Hairy Wood-rush, Wood Small-reed and the Goldilocks Buttercup. Four species of Fern have been recorded: Lady-fern, Broad Buckler-fern, Narrow Buckler-fern and Male-fern.
A survey of bats in 2009 found Common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle, and possibly Natterer’s Bat, Noctule, Brown Long-eared, and Serotine (which is rare in Buckinghamshire).
Twenty-seven breeding bird species were recorded in 2007, including regular garden visitors, Robin, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Greenfinch, as well a several less common species, such as Bullfinch, Marsh Tit and Song Thrush. Typical woodland species include Tawny Owl, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and Sparrowhawk. Other breeding birds include Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Green Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Jay, Magpie, Starling, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon and Carrion Crow. In spring and summer, common migrant visitors include Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Garden Warbler.
Some of the rides and scalloped areas alongside paths that The Parks Trust has created have numerous butterflies in sunny weather. A 2002-03 study found 21 resident species, the commonest of which were Ringlet, Large Skipper and Speckled Wood. The least common were Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell, Holly Blue and Painted Lady. A study of moths at six sites in Milton Keynes in 2009 found 195 species in Linford Wood, including the Pale Oak Beauty, Dark Marbled Carpet and Ingrailed Clay: three species not found at the other sites. Several species of Dragonfly and Damselfly breed in the ponds.
The ponds in Linford Wood support populations of Common Toad, Common Frog, Great Crested Newt and Smooth Newt.
How to get there
Linford Wood is located between the V7 Saxon Street and the V8 Marlborough Street, and between the H3 Monks Way and the H4 Dansteed Way. There are two car parks, one on the northern side of the wood off Breckland, accessed from the H3 Monks Way, or from the V7 Saxon Street, grid reference SP845407; this car park is open to the public at weekends. The other is on the west side of the wood, at the end of Enfield Chase, accessed from the V7 Saxon Street, grid reference SP845402. Linford Wood can be accessed from redway cycle routes.
The nearest public transport
The number 13 bus runs to Heelands and stops near the wood off the V7 Saxon Street.