Campbell Park to Willen Lake Circular Walk

Campbell Park to Willen Lake Circular Walk
Campbell Park to Willen Lake Circular Walk

Milton Keynes has, as I hope I have shown in all my recent walks, some stunning areas for a hike. Often these involve the outskirts of the town, but today I decided to have a walk through the heart of the city. And head around Campbell park (which starts right next to the large shopping centre) and around Willen Lake, two of the prettiest Milton Keynes Parks. A Campbell Park to Willen Lake circular walk.

DISCLAIMER: This post is quite photo heavy.

Campbell Park to Willen Lake Circular Walk

The walk started by the MK Rose, an area that has been designed for anyone to commemorate, celebrate or remember a person or event, but I started in the heart of the shopping centre having arrived by bus earlier.

The MK Rose
The MK Rose

The sun was shining bright and a brilliant azure sky spread out across Milton Keynes as I began to walk. All throughout the walk Chiffchaff could be heard singing. These early migrants numbers increasing, as the days grow in length.

My walk through Campbell park took in much of the art trail. The outward journey following the northern path of the large park. To my right, as I walked, the shining white of The Light Pyramid (the beacon) stood out atop the high hill, the most iconic feature of the city park. A hill that, as a child, I rolled down, although I’m petty sure the sheep were not in the fields, as I don’t recall being covered in sheep poop!

As I walked I passed several of the stunning pieces of art that can be seen on the “Art Trail” (images below) as well as the arboretum area, the cricket pavilion and lots, and lots of sheep!
Armillary Sphere
Armillary Sphere

 

Light Pyramid
Light Pyramid

 

View over Campbell Park
View over Campbell Park

 

Another view of the Light Pyramid
Another view of the Light Pyramid

 

Chain Reaction
Chain Reaction

 

Chain Reaction from another angle
Chain Reaction from another angle

 

Arboretum to the left of the path
Arboretum to the left of the path

 

Cricket Pavilion
Cricket Pavilion

 

Head - from below
Head – from below

Tree Cathedral

I needed a slight detour from my planned route as there is currently a splash park under construction. Fortunately this detour took me passed the Tree Cathedral, a place that is literally a cathedral shape made from trees, although this is not obvious from the footpath. Designed on an actual cathedral from Norwich.

Tree Cathedral from the Outside
Tree Cathedral from the Outside

 

Inside the Cathedral of Trees
Inside the Cathedral of Trees

Willen Lake North

I arrived at Willen lake on the north lake, beside the Nipponzan Myohoji monastery with it’s beautiful gardens containing flowering cherry trees. And the stunning Peace Pagoda, whose gold and white glistened in the spring sunshine.

While I took in the sights of these two striking buildings a Cetti’s Warbler burst into song from deep within the reeds, surrounding this corner of the lake. The loud song, the loudest of any UK warbler, burst forth from the tiny brown bird, which remained hidden from sight.

Nipponzan Myohoji Monastery
Nipponzan Myohoji Monastery

 

Peace Pagoda at Willen Lake
Peace Pagoda at Willen Lake

 

Pagoda and Lions
Pagoda and Lions

 

Another angle of the pagoda
Another angle of the pagoda

 

Front on of the Peace Pagoda at Willen Lake
Front on of the Peace Pagoda at Willen Lake

Bearded Tit

My reason for coming to Willen Lake in the first place was that a bearded tit (bearded reedling) had been seen in the reeds in front of the peace pagoda on Saturday. I spent a few minutes checking out this small area of reed bed, but there was no sign of the reedling; just a solitary Reed Bunting. The reeds however do spread around much of this lake, so I continued my walk.

As I reached the area in front of the Hospice, a call from within the reeds caught my attention. I wandered across the muddy grass for a closer look. It didn’t take long before a female Bearded Tit popped up onto a reed stem and began to work its way to the top.

Over joyed at finding this proverbial needle in a haystack (my first Bearded Tit in Buckinghamshire), I attempted to grab a few photos (below).

She put on a great show for me, flying up and down the reedbed, although never landing for long the right side of me (always in slightly harsh light sadly).

Bearded Tit (female)
Bearded Tit (female)

 

Bearded Reedling at Willen Lake
Bearded Reedling at Willen Lake

 

Female Bearded Tit at Willen Lake
Female Bearded Tit at Willen Lake

 

Another view of the Reedling
Another view of the Reedling

 

Stunning views of the Bearded Tit at Willen Lake
Stunning views of the Bearded Tit at Willen Lake

Bird Hide

As the winds picked up, the reedling became more elusive, ducking down into the reeds. I only knew she was still there thanks to her pinging call, which could still be heard. I decided to carry on and made my way along the exposed Eastern bank of the lake and headed to the hide.

From the hide I could see the area of the island known as the spit, although mainly underwater it did still hold a few interesting birds. Mainly Lapwing and Cormorant, but a lone Redshank stalked the muddy fringes, and a Green Sandpiper briefly put in an appearance.

To my left as I looked from the hide window a Grey Heron slowly padded its way through the shallows, intently staring into the water, eagerly searching for its fishy lunch. And a second Cetti’s Warbler exploded into song from my right.

View From the Hide
View From the Hide

 

Grey Heron among the reeds
Grey Heron among the reeds

 

Canada Geese
Canada Geese

Willen Lake South

My walk around the south lake was a much more hurried affair, Although there were a few birds of interest, a single Golden eye still swimming the choppy water, and a pair of Oystercatchers settled onto one of the pontoons. The wind was whipping across the lake bringing stinging cold with it.

Views across Willen Lake
Views across Willen Lake

 

Great Crested Grebe pairing up
Great Crested Grebe pairing up

Back Home

Getting away from the cold winds of Willen Lake South I headed back up through Campbell Park. Taking in closer views of the Head, sculpture; laughing at the local sheep which seem to have picked up their own camouflage in the form of twigs and branches that now stick out through its fleece.

Head
Head

 

Sheep covered in Branches
Sheep covered in Branches

Something less funny was the two men who seemed to think their dog running wild and chasing the sheep flock was funny. Only calling it back when they saw me. Although it was back off the lead moments later, once again running amok. I do wonder what goes through people’s heads sometimes!

Milton Keynes Skyline
Milton Keynes Skyline
There are more photos below the map.

Campbell Park to Willen Lake Circular Walk Map

Other Photos from  my Campbell Park to Willen Lake Circular Walk

View over Willen Lake North
View over Willen Lake North

 

Another view across the lake
Another view across the lake

 

View of the Island from the East Bank
View of the Island from the East Bank

 

Distant view of the Beacon
Distant view of the Beacon

 

Light Pyramid again
Light Pyramid again
More Bearded Tit
More Bearded Tit

 

Last reedling shot
Last reedling shot

 

Grey Heron in the water
Grey Heron in the water

 

Heron in flight
Heron in flight

 

Another shot of the Grey Heron
Another shot of the Grey Heron
Mute Swan feeding
Mute Swan feeding

 

Art under the Bridge
Art under the Bridge

 

Cold Waters of Willen South
Cold Waters of Willen South

 

Buildings Across the Lake
Buildings Across the Lake

 

Toad Stools
Toad Stools

 

Crossing the Canal
Crossing the Canal

 

Sheep and the Beacon
Sheep and the Beacon

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

Did you enjoy Campbell Park to Willen Lake Circular Walk? Or find it useful? Then please consider sharing with your friends, via the links below.

 

Like it? Share it!

Leave a Reply