Although it is not possible to hold our usual programme of summer walks for groups of Society members this year, you can still visit the sites and try the walks for yourself…
Walk leaders are preparing descriptions of the walks they would have led, to provide information about the route and the wildlife that may be seen. You can use these to explore the sites on your own or with family. If you aren’t able to visit the sites in person, use these descriptions to find out more about the wildlife in and around Milton Keynes.
There are currently 5 summer walk descriptions available below:
1. North Loughton Valley Park (Joe Clinch)
2. Newton Leys Lakes (Colin Docketty)
3. Olney meadows in July (Julie Lane)
4. Rectory Woods and Marston Thrift Wood, Cranfield (Mike LeRoy)
5. Summer Leys Nature Reserve (Joe Clinch)
1. North Loughton Valley Park
The walk begins and ends at the Roman Villa in Bancroft, following both sides of Loughton Brook, and diverging to Bradwell Windmill. The total length of the walk is about 3.5 kilometres and with stops should take about 1.5 hours.
At the Blue Bridge/Bancroft Park end there are two wet/dry balancing lakes that accommodate excess water from Loughton Brook during times of heavy rainfall. The park also has some examples of medieval fields, as well as a natural spring that used to provide water for the nearby railway line.
Joe Clinch’s description of the walk can be found here:
2. Newton Leys Lakes
This is a new development with three Lakes: Jubilee Lake, the largest (a former pit for the brickworks); Little Willow, the smallest; and Gull Roost, the northerly of the three. The main interest will be waterfowl, Odonata, and some ‘pioneer vegetation’ colonising the disturbed ground of the newly developed area.
The walk starts and finishes at the Newton Leys Local Centre Car Park. It follows hard paths all the way, and should take about an hour.
Colin Docketty’s description of the walk can be found here:
3. Olney Meadows in July
This walk begins and ends at Olney Rugby Club car park, and follows the River Ouse back to Olney churchyard, and beyond to Goosey Bridge, and on to the escarpment and Barn Field. It is about 4 miles long and is fairly easy walking throughout although it can be a bit muddy in patches down by the river in the winter.
Julie Lane’s description of the walk is here:
4. Rectory Woods and Marston Thrift Wood, Cranfield
Walk through the contrasting young woodlands of Forest of Marston Vale (Tartletts Close, Legacy Thrift, Strawberry Hill and Brickfields plantations) and the ancient woodland of Marston Thrift (SSSI) ash/field maple woodland with oak and hazel, butterflies and woodland flowers. Enjoy fine views over Marston Vale from the high points towards Holcot Wood and beyond that to the Brickhill woodlands. The Pdf contains a link to a map of the route and describes what you can see, as well as information about how to get there.
Mike LeRoy’s description of the walk is available here:
5. Summer Leys Nature Reserve
Summer Leys is managed by Beds Cambs and Northants Wildlife Trust (BCNWT) and covers 47 hectares of former gravel workings in the Nene Valley. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA). There is a large lake with several small islands and inlets with areas of reeds, planted trees, bushes, and rough grazing plus two ponds and one small area of preserved meadow. It is an important haven for breeding and wading birds, but there is plenty of other wildlife.
Joe Clinch’s description of the walk is available here, including a link to a map of the route and information about how to get there, and what you might see: