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Latest News

Book Your Place Now for The Parks Trust’s Walking Festival

30 April 2018

We everyone to head outside and join us on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May for our annual Walking Festival.

There will be 15 walks held throughout the weekend, located at different locations across the city, giving people the opportunity to explore somewhere new and enjoy Milton Keynes’ beautiful and inspiring landscapes.

The Heritage of Loughton Valley walk on Saturday 12th May at 2pm is sure to be a real highlight. This four-mile walk starts at Bancroft’s Roman Villa and then tours through the North Loughton Valley, exploring its rich history. Well behaved dogs are also welcome on this walk.

In addition, The Old and The New walk is shaping up to be a popular choice. This will cover over six miles of the city, contrasting the modernity of Central Milton Keynes to more historical areas, including Bradwell Abbey and an ancient woodland. This will be held on Sunday 13th May at 2pm.

Julie Dawes, Events & Community Engagement Manager for The Parks Trust, commented: “This year’s Walking Festival is set to be better than ever, with options for people of all abilities. With over 6,000 acres of parkland managed by The Parks Trust, there’s plenty of areas to explore and what better opportunity to head outside and visit somewhere new?

“We have also made sure to include a number of walks where people can bring their dogs along, such as a dedicated Woof Walk in Campbell Park. As ever, we could not do this without Milton Keynes Council, and our own volunteers, whose help with organising and running this weekend is absolutely vital.”

Spaces on walks should be booked online. Please visit www.theparkstrust.com/walkingfestival2018 to book tickets and find out more information.

Entries Now Open for The Fred Roche Travel Award

We are very proud to be supporting The Fred Roche Travel Award, organised by Milton Keynes Community Foundation. The three £500 awards are to support students who are studying horticulture, landscape design, architecture, urban design or arboriculture to broaden their subject knowledge through travel during the summer break. The Travel Awards are sponsored by The Fred Roche Foundation, The Parks Trust and an anonymous donor.

Who can apply?
In order to apply, you must be between the ages of 18 and 23 on 1 June 2018 and have completed your secondary education in Milton Keynes. You should now be in full-time higher education studying horticulture, landscape design, architecture, urban design or arboriculture.

Growing Local Talent
The Fred Roche Foundation was created to keep the MK spirit of creative exploration, innovation and strength of vision alive, and to celebrate the life and achievements of Fred Roche who played such a seminal role in the creation of the City. Their aim is to stimulate creative discussion and debate around subjects that are critical to the character and vitality of Milton Keynes and to foster respect for the great urban development and achievement the New City represents. With this in mind, MK Community Foundation will ask that the successful applicants write a blog and/or vlog, describing their travels, so that their experiences can be shared with a wider audience and encourage more awareness of the importance of studying horticulture, landscape design, architecture, urban design or arboriculture.

Applications will be reviewed by the MK Community Foundation panel and the winner will be announced on their website on Friday 1 June 2018.
How to apply
Applications should be submitted by completing an application form that can be found on the MK Community Foundation website www.mkcommunityfoundation.co.uk or alternatively you can call 01908 690276 if you would prefer MK Community Foundation to send you a form by post.

Deadline for completed applications is 14th May 2018 - Good luck!

Temporary Closure of Paths in Howe Park Wood

Due to excessively wet and boggy conditions in the wood, we have decided to close off the worst affected paths from Monday 23rd April for a short time.

Howe Park Wood is naturally a wet woodland and its flora and fauna reflect that. However, with the very wet and cold conditions we have seen over the past few months and increased visitor numbers, many areas have become so soft and muddy that they are almost impassable.

As a result, some people have created their own paths along the ditches which is causing erosion and damage to the flora. It is important that we do not cause disturbance in quiet areas of the woodland at the most important time of year for flowers and wildlife.

Surfacing the paths with woodchip is not an option at the moment but we plan to do this in the summer months when ground conditions are suitable.

Only three paths in the northern half of the wood will be closed off and all other paths will remain open to visitors. We apologise for any inconvenience caused but we hope visitors will understand our decision. All of the woodland rides should be fully open again very soon.

Wildlife Blog: Grass Snake

16th April 2018

The grass snake is the largest and most common species of snake in the UK. A full-grown grass snake can be over one metre in length and some people can find them alarming if they stumble across them whilst out walking. However, they are non-venomous and quite harmless to humans, preying on nothing more than amphibians and small fish.

At this time of year snakes are emerging from their winter hibernation. They may have been hibernating in an animal burrow since early November and on emergence it is not unusual for large numbers of snakes to congregate and bask together – known as ‘lying up’. The snakes will flatten their bodies to maximise the warming of the sun’s rays and contact with other snakes will help with the warming effect. We often receive reports of adders from our parks but none of these scarce snakes are found in Milton Keynes. The cream or yellow ‘collar’ behind the head is the most distinctive feature of the grass snake while adders have a clear zig-zag mark down their backs and are generally much smaller in size. Adders are known from one or two locations in Bedfordshire but are probably extinct in North Bucks.

Mating takes place in late spring and in June the females will lay up to 20 eggs in a rotting tree stump or perhaps even a garden compost heap. The tiny hatchlings emerge in late summer or autumn and will feed on mainly froglets and toadlets.

If you do come across a few snakes in your back garden or local park please just watch from a safe distance. You will soon see that they have nothing more on their mind than basking and will probably crawl away into cover as soon as they see you coming.

The Parks Trust Secures Compensation for Unlawful Felling of Trees

10 April 2018

The Parks Trust has secured compensation of £10,000 plus payment of its costs from the Burger King restaurant in Milton Keynes. 

In October last year contractors acting for the restaurant unlawfully felled eight horse chestnut trees and one alder tree on Parks Trust land adjacent to the Burger King outlet on H5 Portway in Central Milton Keynes.

We reported it to the police as criminal damage and sought compensation from Burger King to enable replacement trees to be planted. 

Faced with the prospect of legal proceedings being taken against it, the Burger King restaurant in Milton Keynes came to an out-of-court settlement.

David Foster, Chief Executive of The Parks Trust, said: “The public have a right to expect us to safeguard the parks and landscape of Milton Keynes on their behalf, and that is what we were doing here. We are always willing to talk to businesses about the landscape adjacent to them but if they take matters into their own hands, as in this case, we will respond robustly.

“Most businesses in Milton Keynes really value the landscape setting we provide for them and the contribution the green environment makes to the economic success of the city. It was disappointing that this was not the case in this instance when the trees, which were there for everyone to enjoy and to provide an attractive gateway into the city centre, were felled by the restaurant. 

“The trees were approximately six metres tall and over thirty years old and just beginning to make a real impact on the landscape. To replace each individual tree like-for-like would cost £10,440 plus the cost of delivery planting, so while £10,000 compensation might sound a lot, it in no way covers the loss suffered by the city.”