When it comes to seeing butterflies you can spot them almost anywhere, especially at the height of summer. But sometimes visiting the right place will allow you to see more than just the odd Red Admiral feeding on brambles; or fluttering “white” amongst the long grass in your garden.
In my goal to photograph all the butterflies on MK, I have visited several areas and have a growing knowledge of where to go for what. So I thought I would share that knowledge with my 5 Best Butterfly sites in Milton Keynes. Most sites are managed by the Parks Trust.
5 best sites in Milton Keynes to see butterflies
Now before I go on I should state that butterflies will usually be found around food plants and habitat that they use as a breeding. But they do fly (it’s in the name!) so can turn up in different places.
Oakhill Wood (and North Bucks Way)
This is a site I only found out about last year, after seeing wonderful photos by a local MK photographer Kevin on Twitter, but it is surely one of the best local sites. Located behind the local prison! The area is quiet, and lush. A small stand of trees, with one main open ride (just beyond the hedge of the North Bucks Way). The woods are also bordered by some large open fields (wheat) that can also be a great attractant to butterflies.
In the height of butterfly season the area can be alive with these wonderful insects. I saw my first Silver Wash Fritillary & White Admiral here in 2017. But it is home to many species. On one day in 2017 I recorded 21 species in around an hour!
Stonepit Fields CP
I grew up near Stonepit Fields, except it was just a large empty farmer’s field, that was all too often set fire to by local kids in the summer. Since then it has been transformed into a little grassy haven for wildlife. Containing two pools it is also good for Odonata, but the grasses make it one of my 5 best butterfly sites in Milton Keynes.
If you wander through this grassy field in the height of summer, you can literally be kicking through clouds of butterflies. From Small skipper, to Meadow Browns in huge numbers. But the area is home to a colony of the tiny, deep blue, Small Blue butterfly. My Small Blue butterfly first were seen here.
Howe Park Wood
One of my favourite walks in summer is around the edge of this wood. Although butterflies can appear anywhere in the ancient woodland the grassy rides around the edge are by far the best areas. Home to stunning butterflies such as Purple Emperor or the very rare Black Hairstreak (that I have looked for but failed to see). As well as large numbers of commoner species.
Sadly there are no longer Wood White, but I have photographed so many of the species on my Butterflies of Milton Keynes page here that it just has to feature highly on any list of the best butterfly sites in Milton Keynes.
Blue Lagoon NR
I know this site least of all the sites on my list, and in fact have not been there for many years, but this does not take away from the amazing array of butterflies that can be found here. In fact it is one of the few areas that the rarer skipper species can be found at. And I must visit in 2018.
A series of former clay pits that are a deep blue shade. The grassy borders are superb for butterflies (and Dragonflies). Both Grizzled and Dingy Skipper can be found here. As well as another Small Blue Colony and White Letter Hairstreak (so 4 locally quite scarce butterflies). Throw in Small Heath and Marbled White in abundant numbers and you have a great Butterfly location.
Smack bang in the heart of Milton Keynes Linford Wood can be a little oasis in the concrete dessert (actually that can’t really be said on MK it’s all pretty green). These ancient woodlands can be brilliant for butterflies, when they are not full of people that is.
Wide, muddy, rides crisscross the woods and you can find great butterflies such as Silver Wash Fritillary, Painted Lady and many more. 21 Species were recorded breeding back in the early parts of the 21st Century and I believe this has increased.
Of course these are, in my experience, the best local sites, but there are of course many more. Little Linford & Shenley Wood can both be productive. Linford Lakes NR and the surrounding Country Park can often have some lovely butterflies. The Floodplain Forest and surround has nice numbers at times, and has the rare White Letter Hairstreak breeding. Stony Stratford NR, is brilliant when the grass is long (especially for Marbled white. Tattenhoe Valley Park currently brilliant for Dragonflies, also has good numbers of butterfly, especially in the rides beyond the ponds.
Thank You For Reading
This should give you a great start if you plan on looking for Butterflies in Milton Keynes. If you do let me know what you saw in the comments below. Or if you think I’ve missed somewhere great please also let me know.
Map of Sites
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And of course you should make sure you have a decent Butterfly ID guide with you. I’d recommend either of these two: