Nature in Milton Keynes

“GOC Milton Keynes 047: River Ouzel” by Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

While we are all, usually, near a park, a river, the canal or one of Milton Keynes’s many lakes to go for an agreeable walk, there are only four nature reserves in our town – Linford Lakes, Stony Stratford, the Floodplain Forest (Wolverton Mill) and Blue Lagoon (Bletchley). Milton Keynes Natural History Society lists 17 additional wildlife sites in the borough or near us.

However, we should ask ourselves how much space we leave for nature – the parks are laid out so that people can ride bikes and walk on dry paths, grass is often cut, towpaths are paved over, fruit trees are discouraged because someone could slip on the fallen fruit and brambles and hedges are cut back, to say nothing of the fly tipping and littering that blight some areas.

There is nothing wrong (apart from the rubbish, of course) with managing our green space so that we can enjoy it with our families and friends; however, this leaves us with a limited version of “nature”.

Part of the problem could be our mindset – we see “nature” as a resource to be enjoyed, not as something of which we are part, which sustains every aspect of our lives and which needs our respect. The Parks Trust has responded to greater demand for green spaces by adding more attractions to the areas that it manages, however, we also need to increase the areas that protect local biodiversity. It would be helpful if we were clear on the difference between an area of outside activities (to be enjoyed) and areas where plants and animals need space to regenerate their ecosystems (to be protected).

Here are some suggestions of what nature friendly actions could look like:

  • Stay on the waymarked paths and footpaths through woods, areas of Special Scientific Interest, heathland, etc. and keep your dog on the paths too.
  • Forage responsibly.
  • Leave some longer grass and plant insect friendly plants in gardens
  • Make holes in the bottom of fences for hedgehogs and other animals to get through
  • Bell your cat
  • Avoid pesticides and herbicides in gardens, paths and drives.

We would love your comments and suggestions, please contact us or email