The latest issues of our society newsletter – formerly ‘The Magpie’, and now The Magpie Digest’ (which contains a range of articles from the website for those who are not online) – are available by clicking the links below:
Leiobunum.rotundum.female” by James Lindsey at Ecology of Commanster.
This report is by Society member Mike Killeby who observed Harvestmen in Milton Keynes Woods from September 2011-2014.
Harvestmen hatch in spring from eggs laid in the soil the previous autumn. Good levels of humidity are essential for their survival. Some species remain at soil level whilst others migrate through the herb layer and become arboreal.
We have twenty six species on the UK list, five of which are recent introductions. The insects are difficult to see and they are prone to seek cover when disturbed. They can be collected by the use of a beating tray and a walking stick. Half of the species live their lives in the leaf litter and grass/moss layer. These species can be found by carefully removing surface leaves and collecting fine damp litter for sieving.
Fourteen woods were visited at different times through the years, the most species found were twelve in Linford Wood, other sites had between five and nine species. This work will continue.
Species recorded in order of frequency found.
Leiobunum.rotundum.female” by James Lindsey at Ecology of Commanster. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
(including Milton Keynes and Slough) by Roy Maycock and Aaron Woods. Published November 2005.
Checklist of the Plants of Buckinghamshire
The checklist was produced to help fill a gap in the published plant records of the county (i.e. vice-county 24 so that Milton Keynes and Slough were included). The other publication was that of George Claridge Druce in 1926. This gave details of the flora as it was known at the end of the nineteenth century together with known dates of the first record of each species. Efforts to produce a new Flora began in 1965 and continued until about 1985 but it never came to fruition. The records are still available and were used in the compilation of the checklist – but there have continued to be huge changes since then, hence the Checklist.
Note, although the checklist is out of print secondhand copies are available through specialist bookshops and Amazon.
As a project to celebrate the new millennium, MKNHS decided that a catalogue of the plants, fungi and animals found within the Borough should be compiled and published as a book with the title of “Milton Keynes More Than Concrete Cows – real animals and plants too”. This publication contained lists of flora and fauna which were known to have been seen within the Borough between 1987 and 1999 and was compiled by members and their friends.
Subsequently, between 2010 and 2012, additional records were compiled in Milton Keynes through the Tetrad Project, which encouraged members to continue recording species seen within their own local area
A tetrad is a 2km x 2km square as seen on Ordnance Survey maps using the National Grid and each interested member was allocated the square appropriate to his and/or her house. Participants were asked to record all species seen in their tetrad and submit the records on an annual basis. The original book contains far more species than the project, but there are now records for groups which were not covered earlier.
The species recorded through the Tetrad Project can be found here.
The booklet, published in 1993, covers 1968-1993. It contains a
Milton Keynes Natural History Society The First Twenty-Five Years 1968 – 1993
series of short articles outlining the origins of the Society, some of its early projects and individual activities together with accounts of outings at home and abroad. Early members and the slow growth in numbers are recalled with lists of various officers.
The booklet was published by Milton Keynes Development Corporation with many contributions from Society members. It “contains a check list of the major groups of plants and animals that have been seen in Milton Keynes during the ten year period 1968-1978 (except for butterflies and moths, which cover a longer period).”
Ash (6m) Footpath by brook in field east of church
Beech (4.55m) Footpath to rear of Calverton Place
ALSO see Passenham for pollarded Crack Willow (4.5m) Footpath to Stony Stratford; see Puxley for Steeple Oak (3.65m) at reservoir entrance, Oak (5.35m) opposite Hangar Lodge, and King’s Standing Oak (5m – dead) Shrob Lane; see Thornton for Cranley Oak (dead) north of A421/Thornton turn-off on Bucks/Northants boundary; see Wicken Wood for commercial deciduous usage
Elm (Wesley’s Tree) (7.6m) Market Square (burnt 1980’s, destroyed 2007)
Cedar of Lebanon (3.97m) Ousebank Way
Horse Chestnut (4.95m) North of Willow Lane
Field Maple (2.93m) As above
Horse Chestnut (4.31m) St Mary Magdalene churchyard
ALSO see above for Millfield Black Poplar community planting scheme; see Potterspury for Oak (4.75m) A5 junction to Yardley Gobion, and Queen’s Oak (dead) Footpath by brook north of Queen’s Oak Farm; see Whittlewood Forest (much private)
Lime (4.55m) North-west corner of balancing lake field
Cedar of Lebanon (5.95m) Wolverton House pub grounds
Oak (4.65m) As above
Lime (4.7m) Field to east of above
Black Walnut (3.45m) Holy Trinity churchyard
Oak (4.55m) Drive to Manor Farm
Crab Apple (2.35m) To east of above drive on medieval village site
ALSO see Ouse Valley Park for ongoing development of Great Ouse Floodplain Forest, and pollarded/maiden White Willows
Scots Pine (2.3m) St Andrew’s churchyard
Lime (6.05m) Manor Park canal bank east of lakes
ALSO see Parsons Spinney for Grey Poplar plantation off St Leger Drive; see Bradwell for Oak (4.3m) Colley Hill opposite The Spinney; see Linford Wood (MK Parks Trust) for Crab Apple (1.85m) on southern edge, and semi-ancient woodland; see Campbell Park for Oak (4.1m) in centre of park by stream
London Plane (4.4m) East verge of Little Linford Lane, north of Ouse bridges
Crack Willow (4.05m) As above
Hornbeam (2.6m) St Mary’s churchyard
Giant Sequoia (4.7m) Church car park
ALSO see Little Linford Wood (BBO Wildlife Trust) for coppiced Ash (9m) on southern edge, and semi-ancient woodland
Oak (Cook’s Oak) (5.1m) Footpath on bend of Newport Road
Ash (5.85m) Footpath in field to south of Hanslope Park
Giant Sequoia (4.9m) As above
Oak (4.9m) As above
Oak (4.6m) Roadside adjacent to above
ALSO see Castlethorpe for Sycamore (4.25m) Castle grounds, and Horse Chestnut (4.05m) Mill Leys Farm bridleway; see Salcey Forest (Forestry Commission) for several ancient Oaks and Tree-top Walkway
Common Walnut (6.2m) Entrance to Gayhurst Court drive
Ash (5.8m) As above
Black Walnut (3.3m) As above
London Plane (5.05m) Tyringham Gatehouse drive
ALSO see Gayhurst Wood for wood plots for sale
Beech (4.25m) St Lawrence churchyard (WU)
Horse Chestnut (5m) west verge of Wood Lane
Oak (5m) Footpath by stream north of disused railway, south of Kilwick Wood
Horse Chestnut (5.05m) All Saints churchyard (R)
ALSO see Cowper’s Oak (dead) near Biggin Lodge north of Kilwick Wood; see Yardley Chase (much private)
Giant Sequoia (4.3m) Spring Lane opposite West Street
ALSO see Clifton Reynes for Horse Chestnut (4.1m) Field to west of St Mary the Virgin church, and Common Walnut (3.05m) Front garden on Church Lane; see Emberton for Ash (5.35m) Westpits, off Church Lane; see Newton Wood, Newton Blossomville for Octopus Oak (4.4m)
Lombardy Poplar (4.4m) Ouse riverbank park east of Ousebank Street
Grey Poplar (4m) Footpath off North Crawley Road behind Household Waste site
Crack Willow (4.5m) Ouzel riverbank near Lovat Middle School
Giant Sequoia (4.55m) Lovat Hall public garden off Silver Street
Horse Chestnut (5.05m) Silver Street car park
Aspen (3.45m) Bury Field Common
White Willow (4.40m) as above
ALSO see North Crawley for Elm (3.8m) Footpath north of Gumbrills Farm, and Yew (3m) St Firmin’s churchyard; see Chicheley for Oak (5.2m) Northern verge of A422; see Astwood for Yew (3.7m) St Peter’s churchyard
Oak (5.15m) By paddock Colesbourne Drive off H4, Downhead Park
Horse Chestnut (4.85m) End of London Road, Broughton
Horse Chestnut (3.95m) All Saints’ churchyard, MK Village
Oak (4.25m) Great Linch at junction of V11/H7, Middleton
Ash (4.85m) North Willen Park, east of Labyrinth
ALSO see Tree Cathedral at Newlands near Willen Lake; see Junction H6/V10 for Cricket Bat Willow plantation; see Broughton Grounds for Forestry Authority-funded new woodland
OUZEL VALLEY PARK
Oak (4.55m) Floodplain footpath opposite Monkston Park
Black Poplar (5.45m) Redway near oxbow lake west of OU campus
Black Poplar (3.95m) Riverbank footpath west of OU campus
ALSO see Woughton-on-the-Green for Field Maple (2.35m) Footpath east of canal bridge no. 90; see Walton Hall OU campus for Cedar of Lebanon (6.75m – died 2008) adjacent to Hall; Black Mulberry (2.1m) adjacent to Refectory; and Oak (4.5m) adjacent to Science Block; see Mount Farm Lake for early MKDC tree (mainly willow/poplar) landscaping
Lime (4.2m) St Mary’s churchyard
Oak (4.55m) Isaacson Drive opposite Lamb Lane
ALSO see Woburn Park for several ancient oaks (8m+) and others
BRICKHILL WOODS/WOBURN SANDS
Beech (4.8m) Footpath north of Bow Brickhill church
Sweet Chestnut (3.25m) Sunken way junction on northern escarpment
Scots Pine (2.8m) Northern verge of road west of Sandy Lane by-way
Giant Sequoia (5.75m) By footpath in Back Wood
Oak (4.95m) Edgewick Farm Open Space
Giant Sequoia (4.95m) Mowbray Green
ALSO see above for commercial coniferous usage; see Forest of Marston Vale for ongoing community forest planting schemes
Oak (3.5m) Knowles Infant School playground
Giant Sequoia (4.55m) Bletchley Park main lawn
Lime (4.3m) As above
Beech (4m) As above
Ash (3.75m) Whalley Drive cemetery
ALSO see College Wood (Woodland Trust) for ancient oak (4.4m) and remnant of Whaddon Chase; see Winslow for Cappadocian Maple (4.25m) End of Station Road, and nearby remnants of Bernwood Forest; see Thrift Farm Garden Centre for Oak (5.2m + 5.0m)
Oak (4.4m) Footpath by brook at Snelshall East end of Loughton Valley Park
Oak (5.15m) Footpath entering Howe Park Wood opposite Stolford Rise
Oak (4.9m) Stourhead Gate off H7 opposite Edzell Crescent
Oak (3.95m) South-east edge of Water Spinney
Oak (4.45m) Steinbeck Crescent, Snelshall West
ALSO see Howe Park Wood (MK Parks Trust) for Crab Apple (1.5m) Footpath into wood off Walney Place, and SSSI semi-ancient woodland
SHENLEY CHURCH END
Oak (3.95m) Dudley Hill/St Mary’s Church car park
Oak (4.25m) Burchard Crescent
Hawthorn (Glastonbury Thorn) (1m) Pigott Drive near Glastonbury Thorn First School
ALSO see Loughton for Oak (4.05m) Linceslade Grove opposite Bignell Croft; see Hazeley Wood (MK Parks Trust) for new plantation of Silver Birch, Oak and Hornbeam; see Beachampton for Oak (5m) Ouse Valley Way/road junction near MK boundary, and Oak (4.85m) footpath north-east of above.
15 apple trees in secluded area of North Loughton Valley Park. Access: off Willowford.
Sweet chestnuts scattered on northern edge of Brickhill Woods, some bearing sizable nuts. Access: footpaths/bridleways throughout woods.
Copse of 40 damson, presumably spread as a clone, in corner recreation ground at Loughton Road/Primrose Road junction. Access: road/footpath
Solitary ancient pear, hollow with lost crown, in centre of deserted medieval village site. Access: footpath off Monellan Grove/Caldecotte Lane
Rear of Calverton Place, Lower Weald
Increasingly derelict orchard comprising 2 groups totalling about 40 apple, and a few ex-espaliered pear in deserted walled garden. Apple varieties include: Annie Elizabeth and Wealthy, pear: Marie Louise and Williams Bon Chretien. Access: public footpaths including Calverton Circular Walk.
CAMPHILL COMMUNITY ORCHARD
Located near Willen.
CENTRAL MILTON KEYNES
Scattered amenity planting includes apple and pear to front of Christ the Cornerstone Church, Saxon Gate and to south of Theatre District, on Lower Twelfth Street
Robins Hill redway
Planting line of approximately 25 apple and 30 pear cutting across whole estate. Large walnut by Christ the Vine church. Access: road/footpath/redway
In 2005, a derelict smallholding plot at the corner of Overstreet/V9 and Dansteed Way/H4 (accessible from Loriner Place, Downs Barn) was transferred to the Parish Council for development for local amenity use. This neglected site was turned into a small community orchard, containing in excess of 50 fruit trees and a herb garden. The herb garden was originally built and maintained by the Allotment Association, this is now cared for by the Parish Council.
Down Barn Orchard
Being a community space, this is for everyone to enjoy and pick the fruit and herbs in season. The fruit should not be picked and thrown for dogs, nor the trees used to train dogs to attack, although dogs are welcome in the field with responsible owners who pick up their poop. A dog bin is located on the redway adjacent to the orchard.
Text supplied by Ruth Panther, Community Liaison Officer, Great Linford Parish Council
Fenny Stratford Community Orchard, Manor Fields Sports Ground
A formally designed orchard comprising 50 apple, 8 crab apple, and 42 cherry funded by Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Council. Fenced and with circular footpath and seats. Apple varieties include Blenheim Orange, Charles Ross, Discovery, Greensleeves, Grenadier, James Grieve, Laxton’s Fortune, Lord Lambourne, and Winstone. Older apple trees line approach drive. Access: Watling Street or Sycamore Avenue
85 apple planted in mixed use (part-productive/part-decorative) hedge along project’s boundary with H5. Access: semi-private, visible from road verge. Mel Jones
We have a row of apple trees along the boundary between our buildings at Great Holm and the main road. We have harvested and made use of the produce ourselves this year which is great.
The trees are cared for by the gardening groups I manage on site as part of the lifelong learning services. Louise Taylor Front Line Manager, Milton Keynes Lifelong Learning & Fletchers Mews Activity Centre, MacIntyre
Great Linford Park
Several sites in vicinity of park include Old Rectory derelict apple/pear orchard (private), and more recent public apple and pear planting to rear of Artswork’s barn together with 15 apple along bridleway bordering Willen Lane paddock. Access: public park
Remnant farmhouse orchard now part of Sikh temple site. 3 pear, 2 apple, 3 cherry plum and 1 large walnut. Also plum clone temptingly overhangs redway. Access: private but visible from Watling Street/footpath/redway
Majestic row of 9 remnant apple, presumably Bramley, on footpath off Foxhunter Drive. Access: footpath/redway
Picturesque pear against farmhouse by All Saints’ Church. Access: private but visible from Church Lane. Remnant MKPT orchard and adjacent private orchard between Leys Road and Pitcher Lane. Access: footpath
MILTON KEYNES VILLAGE
Old village has many farm/cottage orchard remnants, together with Broughton Road allotment espaliers, a large walnut by All Saints’ Church, hedge damsons in the community garden by Bird’s Cottage, and a few trees in the Swan Inn beer garden. Access: view from public highway
Fruit and Nut Walk
Recently planted collection of soft fruits, 250 hazel, 20 plum, 10 damson,15 cherry etc around circumference of Drill Hall allotments on MK Parks Trust parkland. Access: drive/footpath/redway off Newport Road
The town’s many large orchards have been drastically reduced by building development since the 1950’s, and garden orchards continue to be lost, including, very recently, large numbers of Edwardian trees to rear of Wolverton Road. Only a few remnants remain, for example Priory Street/Milton Drive, Severn Drive/Blyth Close and on the Ouzel western floodplain edge south of Tickford Bridge. Proposal for Heritage Orchard, using grafts from threatened specimens, being discussed with MK Council. Access: public highway/footpaths
OLD FARM PARK
Holst Crescent allotments
Pre-let but windblown planting of approximately 20 apple. Access: road/footpath
Manor Farm deserted medieval village site
Solitary crab (possibly cider) apple: hollow, split and lost crown, but one of few trees in MK classified as ‘Ancient’ by Woodland Trust. Access: footpath off ex-farm drive with entrance near canal bridge car park
Linear Orchard, Waterside
Approximately 125 trees in two rows to rear of Waterside. Mainly dessert apples, with several Bramley (at the ends), a few pear and some lost trees replaced by Calley Pears. Due to be thinned and restored by MK Council Landscape Services working with local community early 2009.
SHENLEY CHURCH END
Remnant orchard between to St Mary’s Church and playing field with very large pear and 5 apple. Also 10 damson at Shenley Toot, 10 apple in hedge at Sheppards Green. Access: road/footpath
Paxton Crescent Local Park
20+ apple and others by pond adjacent to Old Beams pub. Access: road/footpath
Several large farmhouse orchards lost to development with a few trees remaining, in particular on a series of small greens along Hamner Road, and the footpath between Simpson Road and Simpson Drive. Access: public highway
Roadside planting of 100+ varied dessert apple on V1 corner of Water Spinney Wood. Access: road/footpath/redway
Linford Lakes Nature Reserve
50 Bird Cherry on western boundary of reserve near derelict St Peter’s Church. Good eaters. Access: footpath from New Bradwell or Black Horse canal bridges.
Text by Mel Jones, updated by Paul Dubery
Former market garden/paddock turned local shopping centre. Access: in and around public car parking.
Some local authorities launched a ‘Big Tree Plant over the planting period 2011-2012. Stony Stratford Town council administered this project, with volunteers carrying out the planting.
All the trees were fruit or nut bearing specimens, and a total of around 120/150 were planted. Losses have largely accounted for the lower figure.
The trees are spread in small numbers across the parish; the largest collection being to the rear of York House Arts and Community Centre.
Stony Stratford in Bloom planted a small collection of ‘heritage’ fruit trees adjacent to the Queen Eleanor Garden at the north end of the High Street, from 2012. The trees are all of local provenance or have a known connection to Queen Eleanor who died in1290.
List: Medlar (1); Quince (1); Apple ‘Old Pearmain’ (1); Apple ‘Court Pendu Plat’ (1); Crab Apple ‘bernwode (1); Pear ‘Caldecotte’ (2); Mulberry, black (1); Aylesbury Prune (2); Greengage (1); Apple ‘Leathercoat russet’ (1); Apple ‘winter Queening’ (1).
Text by Mary Sarrre, Horticultural Advisor to Stony Stratford in Bloom
Tattenhoe District Park
MK Council-managed planting of 75 varied dessert apple at Hengistbury Road entrance. Older apple line road (ex-farm drive) and opposite is cottage orchard of approximately 40 apple and 5 pear, all very mature. Beyond is Howe Park Wood with ancient specimen of crab apple. Access: road/footpath
TWO MILE ASH
Stone Hill allotments
Well-designed pre-planted allotments now mature and fully let with tenants obliged to maintain formal layout and share fruit. Recent supplementary self-help planting. Access: private, but view through gate off Stone Hill
Hindhead Knoll Local Park
23 walnut modern landscaped planting scheme, with other minor examples across grid-square, reflecting older trees associated with Walnut Tree Farm and Walton Manor. Also pre-let allotment planting of 30 apple at Boxberry Gardens, and others in Bergamot Gardens allotments. Access: public highway
Very old (propped) mulberry on lawn adjacent to Refectory together with greengage, both excellent fruiters. Also pear espaliers, apple and medlars in remains of Hall’s walled garden. Aylesbury Prune by pond. Walnuts in St Michael’s Church. Access: semi-private.
St Mary’s Close/The Green
Remnant orchard associated with long-demolished Villa, comprising 1 large apple, 3 pear and a listed, listing mulberry. Access: public highway off Walton End
WESTERN EXPANSION AREA
New expansion area engulfing 3+ farms, all of which have associated farmhouse orchards, but in various stages of neglect. One, Whitehouse Farm, has largest pear in MK (2.2m girth) in what was largest orchard in pre-MK landscape. Developers have adopted Fruit Tree Policy with retention of some trees, and mitigation/enhancement planting elsewhere. Possible grafting of felled trees being considered, and transfer to part of large community garden to maintain succession. Local varieties also to be investigated. Access: the future.
Willen Local Park
Little known orchard comprising 20 mature apple in MK Parks Trust meadow adjacent to St Mary Magdalene Church. Access: road/footpath/redway off Milton Road/Newport Road/North Willen Park
Edgewick Farm Open Space
Community orchard comprising 18 trees on Woburn Sands Town Council land managed by volunteers, planted late 90’s. Access: Woodland Way.
The Urb Farm is a social enterprise that works with young people outside of training or employment, helping them to gain qualifications in maths and English, and horticulture.
The orchard at the Urb Farm contains an assortment of native apple and pear trees planted in 2009. The farm itself is also home to wild plum trees within the woodland, alongside some native cherry trees. The fruit from the farm is then used to make delicious jams and chutneys, which are sold to raise funds for the project.
Unfortunately the orchard is private access only, but we have regular open days two or three times a year for the general public to attend. Please keep updated on these through our social media accounts, by searching for Growing People on Facebook or Instagram.
Text and photo supplied by Florie Bryant Urb Farm Manager
Wolverton Community Orchard
General view of Wolverton Community Orchard by Paul Dubery
Previously a derelict allotment site, re-imagined and cleared in 2003 and since planted with 55+ fruit trees, native hedging, hazel coppice, a pond and much more. The trees are a mixture of apple, pear, cherry, plum and damson and all are labelled.
The land belongs to Wolverton & Greenleys Town Council but the maintenance is carried out by a small group of volunteers. Regular, very popular, community events help support the running costs and include live music and refreshments served from the Victorian railway carriage, and these are publicised via social media.
General view of Wolverton Community Orchard by Paul Dubery
A polytunnel was installed in recent years to help supply the local Britain in Bloom team with plants. The orchard is open every day in daylight hours and volunteer sessions are held every Tuesday 10am-2pm.
Some nearby Victorian terraced houses retain original fruit trees eg Red Robin pear. Access: footpath to rear of Western Road opposite Anson Road junction
Text and photos provided by Paul Dubery
The Parks Trust planted a new orchard at Wolverton Mill in March 2019. Click here for more information.
WOUGHTON ON THE GREEN
380 apple and 40 cherry planted in mid-70’s and is now maintained by Midshires Orchard Group. Varieties include Buckinghamshire’s very own dessert apple Cox’s Orange Pippin and its cooker Arthur Turner, together with Bramley’s Seedling, Worcester Pearmain, and from nearby Bedford, Laxton’s Fortune. Cherries comprise Early Rivers and Governor Wood. Apple Day (mid-October) events sometimes held here. Trunks of many trees recently seriously damaged by Pit Bull-type dogs and owners. Nearby is private cider apple orchard. Access: various footpaths from Waterside (Peartree Bridge), canal towpath, or Newport Road.