A visit to the Manor Park at Great Linford gives a flavour of the 18th Century fashion for shaping the landscape. Its style and elegance have survived to this day, but the park is also full of attractions for modern-day visitors.
In July 2016 we secured a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out development work for our project to Revive, Reveal and Restore Great Linford Manor Park, you can find out more about this project here.
In the centre of the Park lies Linford Manor (privately owned). Lord Mayor of London Sir William Pritchard chose Great Linford as his country seat and was responsible for building the central block of the present Manor House in 1678. The estate passed to his relatives, the Uthwatts, who extended the house to its present size, employing a number of tricks to make it look more impressive. For instance, the wing nearest to the village was originally a single storey ballroom, but false windows were put in to create an 'upstairs' and preserve the building's symmetry. The two pavilions which face the Manor from the courtyard were designed to look like houses but were actually simple stables. They are now used as art studios and meeting rooms by the Milton Keynes Arts Centre.
In front of the Manor the track was lined with trees leading to four descending water gardens fed by springs from a well that still flows today. Two of the ponds can still be seen and are a lovely setting for a picnic. A third was destroyed when the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union) was cut through the estate, while the fourth, with its brick-built cascade, currently lies derelict and hidden in the trees between the Canal and Railway Walk.
Taking his responsibilities as Lord of the Manor seriously, Sir William Pritchard provided a school house for the education of local boys and a block of almshouses for six unmarried poor people of the parish. These, along with the renovated thatched barn, and the converted stables, now form the Milton Keynes Arts Centre, which runs its own programme of courses, events and exhibitions throughout the year.
St. Andrews Church
The park surrounds the village church of St Andrews, which occupies an ancient site – there has been a church here stood heresince at least the 13th Century.
Not far from the Manor stands a stone circle of locally quarried limestone. These stones were placed here in the 1980’s to mark the site of an old quarry that provided building materials in the past. The quarry face lies behind the stone circle and is designated as a a site of regional geological interest, where fossils can be found, dating from the time when the limestone rock formed beneath a shallow tropical sea.
For details of events in the park see What’s On
Linford Manor can be found in the village of Great Linford, with access from Marsh Drive, the High Street, or Parklands via St Leger Drive
The park and car parks are open at all times and free of charge, except during the Waterside Festival when car parking charges are made.
Free car parking at the following locations:
Off Marsh Drive
Off Parklands, in front of the Arts workshop buildings
There are no public toilets in Linford Manor Park.
Close to the Manor House, refreshments are available in the Nag's Head public house at the end of the High Street. Artworks has a small cafe which is open during events and exhibitions. Check with Artworks direct for details.
A network of surfaced paths give access to most of the park's main features and up to the canal, though some paths are quite steep.
It’s possible to continue your day southwards, along the canal towpath onto the Canal Broadwalk. Alternatively you can join the Newport Pagnell-Wolverton Railway Walk from the park’s western end, which takes you to New Bradwell where you can cross into the Ouse Valley Park.