Discover Milton Keynes’ hidden history as part of Heritage Open Days

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31 August 2021

We are excited to be again taking part in Heritage Open Days. This festival of history and culture brings together thousands of local people, organisations and volunteers. Every year in September, places and organisations across the country throw open their doors and put on events to celebrate their heritage, community and history. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it’s all free.

Heritage Open Days are running between 10-19 September 2021 and we have arranged a variety of events to help you explore Milton Keynes’ hidden history. Join us as we Discover Bancroft Roman Villa on Friday 10 September. This simple and easy to follow walk will introduce you to the Roman Villa as well as give you an understanding of the artefacts that were discovered on site.

If you are looking for a longer walk, then Gyosei Art Trail walk on Saturday 11 September might be for you. This event will be a long walk along both sides of the Grand Union Canal from H3 Monks Way to H5 Portway and back again. You’ll learn why a Japanese school was built in Milton Keynes and discover the beautiful and unique art pieces along the Gyosei Art trail. 

Explore the remains of the medieval village of Wolverton with our Historic Ouse Valley walk on Monday 13 September. This walk and talk will introduce you to the earthworks and history of the wider valley park. The Ouse Valley has a long and varied history stretching back to at least the Domesday book surveys of 1086. This guided walk will take you through the park in the early evening with a discussion of the area’s historical past. There may even be a chance to spot some of the varied wildlife that calls the Ouse Valley it’s home.

The Common and the Wood walk on Wednesday 15 September is a chance to explore the long history of Linford Wood and the estates off Common Lane. Linford Wood has been woodland for at least 700 years and is now under the care of The Parks Trust. This brisk circular walk will explore the rich history of the area and the surrounding estates ranging around 2.3 miles and will take approx. 2hrs.

On Thursday 16 September you can join the Figure of 8 Walk around the North & South Willen Lakes. This lengthy walk around the lakes and the surrounding villages will be informative, and exciting as you discover the stories and history of the area. The walk will include the village of Woolstone which is recorded in the Domesday Book. Then will enter the 21st century by way of Willen Lake South, where you’ll look at some of the art pieces and their stories. There will also be the opportunity to will look at St. Mary Magdalene Church as well as the Buddhists Temple and Peace Pagoda.

During the Heritage Open Days festival, you can also enjoy tours of Milton Keynes Rose on Sunday 19 September. Visitors will be given a short walking tour of some of the pillars at the Milton Keynes Rose which demonstrate the wealth of heritage in the city, including the history of the hymn Amazing Grace which was written in Olney and the story of Albert French, a young man from Wolverton, who was killed in action in World War I.

Finally, on Saturday 18 September join us in celebrating the end of the National Lottery Heritage Funded restoration works at Great Linford Manor Park. We will be celebrating both nearing the end of the building works and Heritage Open Days 2021 and are teaming up with Milton Keynes Arts Centre, St. Andrew's Church and the Friends of Great Linford Manor Park to bring you a jam-packed day of activities for all the family.

The event runs from 12-6pm and highlights include: hands-on making activities with Milton Keynes Arts Centre and their team of artist leaders within the ceramic studio, art room and Open Garden spaces.

You’ll also be able to explore St. Andrew's medieval parish church, visit the Textile Project exhibition and pick up refreshments. Discover the newly restored parkland and its history on a 'Horrible Heritage' guided walk (pre-booking essential) with the Friends of Great Linford Manor Park. As well as enjoying live music and talks from expert historians and performers throughout the afternoon.

Not only that, you can also tuck-in to food from some of Milton Keynes' tastiest vendors, take a look around the new Community Trip Boat, Electra and browse market stalls from local businesses and community groups.