It’s been a vibrant year in MK’s Green Spaces
Spending time outdoors is good for the soul. Whether for personal wellbeing, or spending time with friends, family, pets, or your local community, Milton Keynes’ green spaces have been well and truly abuzz with activity in 2023. The Parks Trust, the charity caring for over 6,000 acres of MK’s parkland, reflects on the year.
The city welcomed HM The King to mark Milton Keynes’ city status, and for the first-time celebrated World Wetland’s Day in February. Visitors to Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve enjoyed nature crafts, guided walks, and talks by biodiversity experts, as part of the UN-backed campaign raising awareness of wetland ecosystems.
Through the changing seasons, at the heart of the city, Campbell Park once again welcomed International Festival, Pride, and a host of cultural celebrations – from the much-loved Filipino ‘Barrio Fiesta’ to the music, food, dance, and traditions of Zimbabwean and Hong Kong communities too. And in October, 300 local businesses, community organisations, churches and faith groups, charities, and schools took part in MK Food Bank’s incredible MK CAN event to secure the Guiness World Record for longest line of food cans – more than 102,000!
A budding local designer, 5-year-old Freya Bundy from Peartree Bridge, created a winning design filled with bright colours and floral features to be the new ‘skin’ of Triceratops – MK’s 8.7m long dinosaur sculpture. That wasn’t the only public artwork to have a new look this year, the city’s most famous residents – the concrete cows – had a transformative and moo-vellous make-over too. Just down the road from the cows, with MK’s heritage in mind, Roman Day was a celebration full of family fun as visitors immersed themselves in Roman life and customs at Bancroft Villa.
The celebrations didn’t stop there either, as a series of accolades were achieved in 2023: MK’s network of parkland secured a Green Flag Award for the seventh consecutive year, Great Linford Manor Park was recognised with Green Heritage Site Accreditation for the second time, and received two British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) Awards for ‘Community and Schools Development’ and ‘Nature Conservation & Biodiversity Enhancement’. The Parks Trust volunteering programme achieved Investing in Volunteers accreditation, which recognises the Trust’s commitment to great volunteer management standards, and finally, Campbell Wharf Marina won The Yacht Harbour Association Inland Marina of the Year.
Victoria Miles MBE, Chief Executive of The Parks Trust says: “It’s near impossible to narrow down 2023 to just a few key moments, but some of my personal highlights of the year would have to include: achieving Investing in Volunteers accreditation (with more than 10,000 hours of volunteer time too), a seventh consecutive Green Flag Award, and the planting of 28,000 trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants in the city’s parks! It’s safe to say, I’m immensely proud of our teams and volunteers who go above and beyond to deliver our mission – to provide beautiful parks, woods, and landscapes, to be loved by the people of Milton Keynes forever. I’d like to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year, and urge you to add ‘explore more Parks Trust green space’ to your New Year’s resolutions”.
This year also saw The Parks Trust adopt the coordination of MK Health Walks, having originally launched the scheme in partnership with Milton Keynes City Council almost two decades ago. The programme helps maintain health and wellbeing, with typically short distance walks led by trained volunteers, and in 2024 there’ll be more than 500 Health Walks available!
New for 2024 is an all-new series of Parks & Ride cycle rides, offering a chance to join a leisurely ride around parks of Milton Keynes. These events are planned to be short and accessible for all, especially families, with routes planned to ensure a nice smooth, gently paced ride of 5-6 miles.
Discover parkland events and activities for the New Year at theparkstrust.com/events