Hidden at the very southern corner of Milton Keynes, Waterhall Park is the perfect place to spot wildlife.
What to see and do
A public footpath leading from the car park follows the meandering course of the River Ouzel, its banks lush with a profusion of colourful plants, its waters heavy with reeds and lilies.
On its other side Waterhall Park is bordered by the Grand Union Canal, beginning its journey through the city, shadowed by the towering columns of poplar trees which mark the broadwalk path by the canal.
Waterhall was once pasture, farmed by Waterhall Farm which sat where the Lakes Estate now stands. But it takes its name from the local manor, whose estate it was once part of.
These days the only farming of the 22 acres is willow for cricket bats. Willow is one of the fastest growing trees in Britain and can normally be harvested after 15 years. See the plantation in the south corner of the park.
But from the picnic benches and seats scattered near the river bank, you can look out over ripening fields of corn to Brickhill Woods and the Woburn estate in the distance.
Waterhall is a wonderful spot to study the life of the riverbank.
Need to know
Waterhall Park forms the eastern border of Water Eaton in south Bletchley. It can be reached from Fenny Stratford or Bletchley for those coming from within Milton Keynes, or, from the south, via the A4146 Fenny Stratford bypass.
The park is open at all times.
There is a car park off Mill Road, at the north end of the park.
There are no public toilets at Waterhall Park. The nearest facilities are in nearby Fenny Stratford.
There are no refreshment facilities at Waterhall Park. The nearest shops and cafes are at Serpentine Court, Fenny Stratford and Queensway, Bletchley.
There is a good all-weather path around the park perimeter.
Make a day of it
Waterhall Park is linked into the rest of the parks system via the canal towpath which passes through Fenny Stratford and emerges at the southern edge of Caldecotte Lake, from where you can continue on into the Ouzel Valley Park.