Willen Lake North
North Willen Lake is home to one of Milton Keynes’ best-known landmarks, the first Peace Pagoda to be built in the western world - and to a rich and varied bird population.
What to see and do
The Peace Pagoda was built by the the monks and nuns of the Nipponzan Myohoji as a symbol of world brotherhood . Above it, 1,000 cherry trees commemorate the victims of war, while prayers and messages of hope decorate the nearby One World Tree.
Alongside the Pagoda is the distinctive Buddhist Temple, where the public is welcome inside or to visit the grounds with their Japanese and Zen gardens.
Drawing on Native American culture, the stones of the Medicine Wheel are aligned with the earth’s energies so that thoughts and wishes expressed at its heart may be ‘amplified’.
At the north end of the lake you’ll find The Labyrinth, and Willen Hospice.
Fishing at the lake is managed by Milton Keynes Angling Association.
The slopes above the labyrinth are popular with sledgers in winter.
A full range of watersports and leisure activities is also available at Willen Lake South.
For full programme see our events pages.
Annual highlights include:
- February: Bean Throwing Festival to celebrate spring’s arrival
- August: Peace Pagoda Anniversary
- August: Hiroshima Day
- December: Christmas carols with Willen Hospice
Scrubland on the island is kept in check by volunteers to provide more varied habitats for a wide variety of bird species.
Nearby, bird scrapes have been created to provide the shallow, sheltered waters that attract wading birds to the site, while volunteers have helped buld and install nesting boxes for sandmartins.
The best views are from the birdhide on the south shore of the lake.
Jogging: distance around the lake 2.2km
Need to know
North Willen Lake is situated between the H4 Dansteed Way and H5 Portway, and between V10 Brickhill St and V11 Tongwell St.
The park and car parks are open at all times throughout the year. There is no admission fee for the park, although one of the car parks is pay and display.
Free parking is available at the following locations:
- Beyond playing fields off Portland Drive, Willen village
- V11 Tongwell St between H5 Portway and H4 Dansteed Way
There is a pay and display car park at the V10 Brickhill St between H5 Portway and H4 Dansteed Way (Pagoda and temple). This car park is managed by Napier Parking. Annual permits are available from Napier Parking at £120 for all Willen Lake car parks and £80 for the Peace Pagoda and Tree Cathedral car parks only. You can download permits from Napier here.
Disabled parking concessions at Willen Lake
If you are a blue badge holder and are exempt from paying vehicle tax you are eligible to claim a free annual parking permit for Willen Lake (worth £120). You can download an application form from www.napierparking.co.uk. Together with your completed application form you will need to provide a copy of your blue badge and of your nil value tax disc. Please note that an administration charge of £10 will apply.
For more information please telephone Napier Parking Ltd on 01730 828103 or email email@example.com. You can also apply in person at Napier Parking’s office, located by the Watersports Centre at Willen Lake South (between 9am and 5pm).
There are no toilets at North Willen, but there are public toilets by the play area on South Willen Lake.
Nearest refreshments are at the Lakeside Hotel and Cafe (weekends and school holidays) at South Willen Lake.
The Camphill Community runs a vegetarian café opposite the main car park.
There are good all-weather paths around most of the lake with steep gradients at the flood control structure and up to Peace Pagoda. Access to the bird hide is via an unmade path: the alternative path is via the South Lake.
Make a day of it