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Latest News

Explore The Outdoors This Season With The Parks Trust’s Winter Wanders

28 November 2018

To recognise the changes that happen to the environment during the colder months we are launching ‘Winter Wanders’, a fun and seasonal exploration of the city’s parks, lakes and landscapes.

There will be private sessions available for local schools and community groups during the winter months. They will be able to learn about the city’s native wildlife in a fun and interactive style. Throughout the experience, there will be nature related challenges to bring participants closer to the natural world.

These sessions will be hands on and include quizzes and sensory activities in a local Parks Trust site chosen by the group, at a time to suit them. A small fee of £3 per head will be required per group. For more information and booking, please contact Nicky Saunders on 01908 233600 or n.saunders@theparkstrust.com

In addition, on Wednesday 20th December there will be two Winter Wanders events open to the public, predominantly aimed at families and those with children. Held in Campbell Park, these will provide the perfect opportunity for children to find out more about the winter environment in between the Christmas shopping!

The public events will feature similar activities to the group sessions, and tickets will need to be booked in advance through our website (AM session & PM Session) with a small fee of £3 per head payable. All proceeds from the Winter Wanders programme will go to help the Trust’s charitable work caring for the parks in Milton Keynes.

Nicky Saunders, Environmental Education Co-ordinator, commented: “It may surprise people to know that there is still plenty of wildlife active during the winter months! We wanted to hold these seasonal sessions to encourage local people and groups to head outside and explore the world around them.

“Sessions are available for groups of all ages and backgrounds, and can be held all over the city. And for those who want to give children a break from the hustle and bustle of the shopping centre, our public events at Campbell Park will be a real treat.”

Discover More of the City’s Beautiful Trees This National Tree Week

24 November 2017

We would like to encourage the people of Milton Keynes to head outside and find out more about the many beautiful and striking trees that are located across the city this National Tree Week.

National Tree Week runs from 25th November to 3rd December 2017, and is the UK's largest annual tree celebration, timed to launch at the start of the winter tree planting season.

There are lots of areas of woodland to explore in Milton Keynes, we manage more than 427 hectares of tree plantations across the city. Linford, Howe Park and Shenley Woods account for 99 hectares.

The Trust recommends making a visit to see the following notable Milton Keynes trees:

  • Crab Apple, Howe Park Wood: This is believed to be the country’s second oldest Crab Apple tree. Crab Apple is one of the ancestors of the cultivated apple (of which there are more than 6,000 varieties). The Howe Park Crab Apple tree is well over 100 years old.
  • The Tree Cathedral, Newlands: The Tree Cathedral is one of the many things that makes Milton Keynes unique. Its outline is based on Norwich Cathedral and it was designed in 1986 by landscape architect Neil Higson. He chose different species of trees to represent the character of the Cathedral's sections: hornbeam and tall-growing lime for the Nave, evergreens to represent the central tower and spires, flowering cherry and apple as a focus in the chapels. The challenge for The Parks Trust at this site is to manage the trees as they grow, making sure original design principles are maintained while ensuring trees have the space to grow on.
  • Lime Tree, Great Linford Manor Park: The Linford Lime is a spectacular specimen of common lime which was planted in the 18th century as part of a landscaped garden surrounding Linford Manor. In 2016, it was shortlisted for the National Trust Woodland Tree of the year competition, finishing in the top ten in this nationwide competition.

Rob Riekie, Landscape and Operations Director for The Parks Trust, commented: “Milton Keynes is spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful woodlands and remarkable trees, so why not take the opportunity to visit somewhere different this National Tree Week?

“Looking after the city’s trees is an important part of our work and a year-round responsibility; whether that is planting new trees or managing existing ones. We are currently busy preparing for the up-coming planting season; on average The Parks Trust plants around 40,000 new trees and shrubs each year.”

Three New Trustees Join The Parks Trust Board

20 November 2017

We are pleased to welcome three new board members; Junita Fernandez, Ian Russell and Clare Stacey.

Each bring particular skills and experience that we have been looking for.

Junita Fernandez is a qualified Chartered Accountant with over 25 years’ experience. She is currently Director of Finance & Corporate Operations at Suzuki GB and responsible for Finance, HR, IT and Compliance. She previously worked for the VW Group for 11 years.

Ian Russell is an experienced environmental professional with a strong background in developing and delivering rural environmental policy across a range of sectors. He currently works as Environment Manager of Route Services for Network Rail and has previously worked for the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Clare Stacey grew up on a dairy farm on the outskirts of Milton Keynes and graduated from Loughborough University with an MSc in Sports Management. She is currently working for England Hockey as their Athlete Liaison Officer and previously worked for English Institute of Sport and Badminton England.

David Foster, our Chief Executive, commented: “We warmly welcome Junita, Ian and Clare to our board. Being a Trustee carries a lot of responsibility especially at The Parks Trust where our work has such a big impact on the whole city.

“In this recruitment round we were particularly looking for people with skills and experience in financial and business management, and farming and land management and were delighted to have such strong interest from people with these backgrounds. 

“I would like to thank everyone who put themselves forward – it is humbling to see there are so many people willing to volunteer to help shape and guide our charity.”

Milton Keynes Schoolchildren Receive ‘Outstanding Junior Park Ranger Award’

16 November 2017

Six schoolchildren from Bradwell Village Junior School have been recognised as Outstanding by The Parks Trust’s Junior Park Rangers scheme.

The students received the annual award for having exceptional commitment and enthusiasm for all their environmental projects, including a wildlife survey and wildflower planting.

The school wins outdoor environmental equipment to the value of £250, which will help them continue to explore both their school grounds and the beautiful parkland of Milton Keynes.

Two runner-up schools, Long Meadow and Charles Warren Academy, will also receive wildlife or environmental equipment.

Amanda Bailey, Outdoor Learning Ranger, commented: “We created the ‘Outstanding Junior Rangers Award’ to go to Junior Park Rangers that not only participated in the programme, but came up with exceptional and creative ways to share and contribute to the work of The Parks Trust with their school as well as the wider community.

“The Rangers at Bradwell Village Junior School certainly achieved this – they were very enthusiastic and engaged with the scheme and were always keen to share what they had learnt with other children.

“We would like to thank the school co-ordinators at Bradwell Village Junior School as without their enthusiasm and support the programme would not be possible.”

The Junior Parks Rangers scheme, which is based on peer education, is designed to engage children in what they can see in their parks, and how they can help to keep their parks clean, healthy and full of wildlife. 

It is free to join, inclusive, simple to run and fully supported by our Rangers.

Six children per school from years 4-6 are recruited as Junior Park Rangers. They then take on a series of responsibilities including reading a monthly nature themed newsletter at their school’s assembly, creating and maintaining a noticeboard showcasing their work, and running competitions and quizzes. 

The Junior Park Rangers can also attend free, exclusive workshops with The Parks Trust each term, activities include bush craft skills, wildlife walks, and park patrols, and attend an annual JPR Outdoor Learning & Sharing Conference in March.

 We are always looking for new schools to join its Junior Park Rangers Scheme. To find out more visit: http://www.theparkstrust.com/schools-and-preschools/junior-rangers call 01908 233600 or email education@theparkstrust.com

Sheep Killed in Knife Attack and Remains Found at Ouzel Valley Park

7 November 2017

The Parks Trust is saddened to report that a sheep has been killed in a brutal and deliberate knife attack.

The attack is believed to have taken place during the afternoon or night-time of Sunday 5th November 2017.

An independent vet has examined the sheep’s remains and confirmed that the death was caused by a human rather than another animal. The vet also believes the attack was carried out using a knife.

The sheep was found in Ouzel Valley Park, Woughton on the Green, on land belonging to The Parks Trust, the self-financing charity that manages and maintains over 6,000 acres of green space across Milton Keynes.

Rob Riekie, Landscape and Operations Director for The Parks Trust, commented: “We are all devastated by this malicious, disturbing attack on one of our sheep. The remains were discovered by a member of the public which was incredibly distressing for them, and for the members of our team who attended the scene.

“This has been reported to Thames Valley Police and we would urge anyone with any information of the attack to contact them.”

 Please call Thames Valley police on 101 quoting CRN 43170330264.