North West Milton Keynes Circular Walk

North West Milton Keynes Circular Walk

Stepping out of the car park you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the heart of the countryside, Blue and Great tits were singing and calling and a Great Spotted Woodpecker called out from the large trees that line the road down to the mill, of course that reverie is quickly broken when the rumbling sound of the A5 breaks through.

North West Milton Keynes Circular Walk


Now I started this walk from the car park but of course I walked here from my home, it just makes a good start and end point, as some of you may wish to walk it, and don't have the luxury of living just over the road, like I do.

The old mill buildings quickly loomed large at the end of the road, these great old buildings, although now flats, still look like an impressive old place, and make for some interesting photos.

Mill Buildings
Mill Buildings

Mill buildings viewed along Great Ouse
Mill buildings viewed along Great Ouse


My route today took me West along the Great Ouse, at first a stretch I have walked previously - in fact a few Sunday's ago - as it wends its way under the aforementioned A5, around the edge of Stony Stratford nature reserve and beyond stony Stratford itself.

Great Ouse
Great Ouse

Looking out over the Weir
Looking out over the Weir

Huddled Mallard
Huddled Mallard


Tomb Meadows


On our previous walk, once passed the reserve we headed into the old town, but today I crossed the road and headed down into Tomb Meadows, a lovely open field with Willow Bat trees to the east and bordered on two sides by the River Ouse (I must admit to a pang of jealousy to the people whose houses are across the river and this is their view each day).

The fields have other interests, and there are a number of boards provided by the local council explaining all the things you might see, but for me today it was just about enjoying the walk.

Bridge over the Ouse
Bridge over the Ouse

River Ouse at Tomb Meadow
River Ouse at Tomb Meadow

Fallen Tree
Fallen Tree

Meandering River great Ouse
Meandering River great Ouse


Stony to Calverton


The meandering path of the Great Ouse seems to cut back on itself and I followed on, keeping up a steady pace on the paved path, as it tracked the fast flowing rivers route back around Stony Stratford, pausing occasionally for a nice photo or to watch the Egrets stabbing at fish or the Geese chasing each other across the expanse of open fields. Even though the temperature of the day remained low the walking was keeping me warm and my spirits were up, it is hard not to feel good when surrounded but beauty.

I was soon away from the open fields a strolling behind some of the local houses, still following the Ouse path but now on narrower footpaths, with more bushes. This route eventually arrived at a small car park and picnic area and which would see me end my trailing of the river, venturing out onto the road, thankfully with a footpath I headed in the direction of Calverton, one of my favourite local villages.

Geese and Egret on the River Ouse
Geese and Egret on the River Ouse

Banks of the Ouse
Banks of the Ouse

Through the Trees
Through the Trees


Crossing The Fields


After a few metres my choice of direction changed, should I head along the road to Calverton and explore the tiny hamlet or hop the fence (using a style of course) and follow one of several routes across country? The choice wasn't too hard so over the fence I hopped.

As I made my way across the grassy field two things struck me, firstly the beautiful view this route offered me over Calverton and especially its church, and secondly that the area is great for Red Kite as two circled over head (I saw another 5 or so through the rest of my walk, amazing for what was once nearly extinct in the UK, hopefully Hen Harrier can come back in the same way one day).

Calverton across the fields
Calverton across the fields

Closer photo of the church at Calverton
Closer photo of the church at Calverton


Powering on over the hill I found myself on, I soon discovered a coupe of things, firstly that someone has a tennis court out in the middle of nowhere? next to a walled off field (10 feet plus high walls?) secondly how bad way markers can be. I was tracking my route on my ViewRanger app (you can see and download the route at the end of this post) and arrived at a style, the way markers on it (there were two) either pointed straight on, or diagonally, I was wanting the diagonal path, so started that way, then looking at my app soon realised I was way off track, the way marker actually meant stay on the other side of the fence and follow the fence, a bit of back tracking and I was back on target (this is not the last time I get lost).

Heading through what felt like a small old orchard (next to the earlier mentioned tennis court) i was surprised to see lots of tiny lambs gambolling around their anxious mothers, I know spring is near but I thought lambing season was a little way off yet. Any dog walkers taking this route please be careful!

Sheep and Lamb in Orchard
Sheep and Lamb in Orchard


Muddy Fields


I was soon in the middle of nowhere, traffic noise had ceased, there was no human in sight and I was at one with nature, the peace was wonderful.

The one thing about country walking is that you find yourself off the beaten track and often have to cross farmers fields, this isn't something I am hugely comfortable with, especially when there are clearly crops growing, but the path heads across so I did my best to avoid damage and walked on, of course the other drawback here is that the mud gathers on the boots, and after crossing my second large field my boots felt like I had bags of cement strapped to them.

Muddy Boots
Muddy Boots


Getting Lost Once More


At yet another way marker I reached the arrow pointed straight, my app showed the path going straight and I started walking straight, the only issue was straight ahead was a barn? Worse it was a barn with the farmer clearly working, a few more checks of the app and I finally found a way marker, I had clearly gone wrong somewhere as it was at a point a little further along than I had expected, but hey, no problem. A word of warning this is around the Hill Farm area.

Back on track I was striking out across another grassy field when I had to stop for a few moments and just enjoy the view, off to my left Beachampton Grove, a small wood, in front of me stretched the Buckinghamshire countryside, the clouds may have filled the sky, giving a less than dramatic scene but it was still beautiful to see.

Views across the County
Views across the County


Bridal Ways and Yet More Mud


Reaching the corner of Beachampton Grove I picked up a public bridal way and began to head passed the wood, reaching a crossroads I looked ahead and my walk was about to get muddy, and when I say muddy I mean thick, deep, wet mud, all puddles and sticky clay like mud, worse still it would start off heading up hill!

Now as far as workouts go, this was one heck of an effort, each step was a slippery mess, my feet sinking into mud and water, which gripped my boots as I tried to pull my feet out, one step felt like the equivalent of three and by the time I crested the hill I still had some way to go across yet more muddy fields.

Public Bridal Way
Public Bridal Way

A Very Muddy Hill
A Very Muddy Hill

Muddy Path Continues
Muddy Path Continues

The Views from the muddy path
The Views from the muddy path

2nd Muddy Boots Pic of the Day
2nd Muddy Boots Pic of the Day


Back on Concrete


Finally finishing crossing the mud I hit a nice solid concrete path and could up my pace once more, the temperature had really dropped and the odd flake of snow dropped (when I say odd I mean like one or two each minute), I needed to keep up a pace in order to warm up a little.

Public Bridal Way (there are large metal gates but it is OK to walk!)
Public Bridal Way (there are large metal gates but it is OK to walk!)

The concrete road/path continued passing one boarded up farm (such a shame) and passing a couple of sets of large metal gates, I must admit a little panic set in thinking I was no longer on a public path but as I arrived at a main road the sign post pointed back the way I had come and I was OK again.

Crossing the road the concrete path carried on to a second decrepit and boarded up farm house, a house that I recall passing some 10 years ago in the same state (well boarded up it wasn't so falling down then) a real shame as the view would be stunning.

Hazeley Wood


As the concrete path ended I was once again back into thick mud, pushing through I was soon in Hazeley wood a small wooded area that was planted in the bot too distant past as a new wooded area for Milton Keynes, and once I arrived at a small car park I was back on solid ground.

Walking through the small wooded area you could see the building work going on on Milton Keynes Southern expansion through the trees, as yet more of our need for growth extending into the countryside and natural spaces around us.

About to Enter Hazeley Wood
About to Enter Hazeley Wood

Path Through Hazeley Wood
Path Through Hazeley Wood


Final Path Home 


It has to be said the final leg of my walk home is a pretty dull traipse along Watling Street (the old A5 and one that follows an ancient Roman route), my one bright spark here was stopping at a nearby snack wagon for a well earned bacon and egg stick, a little sustenance for my final kilometres. I did consider jumping on a bus, but thought it made more sense to finish the circular route home.

View Along Watling Street
View Along Watling Street


So that was it, 10.8 miles over 4 hours and 19 minutes covering the North West corner of Milton Keynes, in a lovely countryside walk. It is amazing how nice the areas can be especially if you are willing to head off the beaten track a little.

View Ranger Map




You can find more Milton Keynes walks on my dedicated page - MILTON KEYNES WALKS.

I'm Walking 2500 miles in 2017 to raise money for Birding For All - Read about it here - Please consider donating through My Donate

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8 comments:

  1. What a lovely post. I never realised Milton Keynes was so near to such open countryside!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many people don't sadly, MK is a great place for open spaces in the city, but there are so many amazing places on the boundary as well.

      Delete
  2. I must confess I've only ever been to MK for shopping but it looks like you've got some nice countryside there too. The joys of England at this time of year, mud everywhere!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly MK has a reputation of being concrete and glass, but there is so much more, if people give it a chance :)

      You have to love our muddy country sometimes.

      Delete
  3. Looks like a good walk, despite the mud! I will have to venture down the road and try a little MK exploring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The mud made it a little more exciting, than my usual walks for sure :)

      Delete
  4. excellent photos. I moved here 1967 there was nothing here between Bletchley/Stony Stratford/Wolverton?newport Pagnell.My boys came to know love and respect every inch..I am thankful they had freedom, now we have had to witness the destruction of this ancient countryside and massive arable lands woods and wildlife with aching hearts.The river Great Ouse streamed with life,frogs/toads/water voles/kingfisher grebe and much more..Now all you see are these "man made" walks..ah well..boy were not we the lucky ones..so if you love what you see .fight to keep it!...ie.I used to walk my children around the fletton quarry..now "the Bowl" this place was full of orchids..yes orchids..i rang "the council" at the time from a phone box"" and told them..within weeks we stood and watched them bulldoze them into nothing..We use to go fishing in Cold harbour Pond!! whats that??? you may well ask..bull dozed out to make way for furzton..and "the lake" I can go on!! now the north Bucks way..destroyed!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is amazing the way things have changed, not always for the best, in the name of progress. Having lived in MK myself since the late 80's I've seen many of these changes myself, but at least there are still areas of beauty that have been untouched, although how long these remain well, who can know.

      Delete

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