Tree A Day

This National Tree Week we will be sharing a spotlight tree series on our social media where you’ll be able to learn about a new species of tree each day. Check back each day for the latest species to discover. We'll be sharing top facts and the best places to find that species in Milton Keynes! 

Friday 4th December – Apple

Crab apple as well as domestic apple trees provide of food for humans and animals. While crab apples can be eaten on their own, they are also a useful ingredient in jams and jellies for their high pectin content.

Howe Park Wood is home to one of the oldest crab apple trees in the UK, you can identify this tree by looking out for its gnarled appearance, often thought to be the reason these trees have the name “crab.” Domestic apple trees are close relatives of the crab apple and are often planted in orchards.

Traditional orchards are great habitats for rare and endangered species such as great crested newts and dormice. Look out for their beautiful pink and white blossoms in spring.

Where to find them: Community Orchard at Woughton on the Green, Howe Park Wood, Linford Wood boundary, orchard near the brick kilns at Great Linford or the orchard at New Bradwell portion of Ouse Valley.

Thursday 3rd December – Horse Chestnut

Horse chestnut trees are not native to the UK. As a result, they are often ornamental trees in parks rather than integrated into woodlands. Their leaves are compound and are made up of 5 leaflets. You might notice dark spots on the leaves in summer and autumn, this is likely due to leaf minor moth larvae or leaf blotch caused by a fungus. While the larvae and fungus are typically not too harmful, infestations can weaken the tree overtime.

They are a firm children’s favourite for their conkers, but these seeds aren’t just used for fun, they can also make a natural soap. Remove the brown skin from 4 conkers, chop them up into smaller pieces, place in a mesh bag and pop in the washing machine as a substitute for laundry detergent.

Where to find them: Ouzel Valley Park, Stanton Wood or Great Linford Manor Park.

Wednesday 2nd December – Alder

Alder is the only native deciduous tree that grow cones. These trees are useful for their nitrogen fixing properties as well as their ability to prevent erosion along rivers and streams. Alder is an interesting tree as both male and female flowers are present on the same tree. Their roots create suitable nesting sites for otters!

Where to find them: Along streams and rivers, try Ouzel Valley Park or Ouse Valley Park, along the Canal Broadwalk or Campbell Park.

Tuesday 1st December – Hazel

Hazel has round, toothed, hairy leaves that are soft to the touch. It is very important as it creates a home for ground nesting birds, its nuts provide a food for animals as well as humans, and its wood is very useful.

Coppiced hazel can be found throughout many of our parks. This management technique creates layers of foliage, forming habitats for a wider variety of species and allows the tree to live much longer. While this is mainly for biodiversity purposes today, the wood was historically coppiced to as it is very flexible making it suitable for weaving.

Where to find them: Dispersed through any wooded area

Monday 30th November – Birch

Birch trees are a sight to behold, with their drooping branches and white bark. The colour of their bark is due to a high concentration of the chemical betulin. The white colour reflects the sun’s heat in winter, protecting the bark from rapid warming. This allows the tree to thrive in very cold regions. This chemical is also waterproof and very flammable, making birch bark a great natural fire starter, even if it has been raining! These trees live a “rock and roll” lifestyle, they grow quickly and have a relatively short lifespan. They are often seen as a pioneer species as they tend to be the first tree to colonise a new woodland.

Where to find them: Tree Cathedral, Campbell Park or Hazeley Wood.

Sunday 29th November – Maple

The field maple is the only native maple species in the UK. You are also likely to see Norway Maple or Sycamore trees in our parks as well. Maples are great trees for cities as they are tolerant to pollution and they turn vibrant colours in autumn. They are important trees as their nectar provides a food source for a variety of insects.

Field maple is often used as hedging as it can tolerate strong winds. They are also a delicious trees as their sap is used to make maple syrup! It takes about 40 litres of sap to make 1 litre of syrup.

Where to find them: Most parks have a mixture of the different species, visit Stony Stratford Nature Reserve, Campbell Park woodland ridge, Stonepit Fields, Hazeley Wood, Caldecotte Lake South or Joan’s Piece at Stanton Low Park.

Saturday 28th November – Oak

First up, is the mighty Oak, one of the UK’s most iconic tree species. Oak trees are some of the most common trees around Milton Keynes. There are two different native oak species: English oak and Sessile Oak. There are also a few non-native oaks commonly found across the UK as well.

Oak trees are very important as they provide a home for more species of wildlife than any other tree. This year was a particularly good year for acorns (the nuts that grow on oak trees) and so we are asked the people of MK to collect and plant them to help us grow trees for Milton Keynes’ ancient woodlands. Find out more here.

Where to find them: most of our parks contain oak trees but in particular you could visit any of our ancient woodlands to find some very old oak trees, Campbell Park or the centre of the Labyrinth at Willen Lake North.


  • Tree Thinning

    Find out why we cut down some trees across Milton Keynes to protect the long-term health of our parks and green spaces and improve them for generations to come.

    Learn more...
  • Coppicing

    We cut back plants during the winter months to improve their long-term health, encourage regrowth and maintain the city’s site lines.

    Learn more...
  • Woodland Management

    We have adopted some ancient techniques in our woodland management, such as coppicing, which benefits wildlife and woodland plants.

    Learn more...

Discover our parks

  • Ouzel Valley Park

    Facilities:

    • Toilets
    • Barbecue Area
    • Café
    • Play Area
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    The Ouzel Valley Park meanders from Caldecotte Lake in the south to Willen Lake in the north. The park has a spacious, open atmosphere with long views. Much of the land is farmed by The Parks Trust rearing our own cattle and sheep, between the livestock you can still see the remnants of an old field system with the ridge and furrow still visible. Incorporating the historic villages of Woolstone and Woughton, the park is bordered on its western side by the Grand Union Canal.

    Refreshments
    There is the Ye Olde Swan pub at Woughton on the Green and a further two pubs - the Barge and the Cross Keys – that are located on Newport Road in Woolstone village.

  • Great Linford Manor Park

    Facilities:

    • Toilets
    • Barbecue Area
    • Café
    • Play Area
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    Great Linford Manor Park is a special, heritage-rich park set within the old village of Great Linford. It contains features that were first laid out centuries ago, including ponds and a Wilderness Garden which represent the English Landscape style of garden design that became popular for country estates during the 18th Century.

    Refreshments
    Refreshments and food can be found nearby at The Black Horse and the Nag’s Head which are open for lunch and supper. Milton Keynes Arts Centre has a small café where drinks can be purchased.

  • Campbell Park

    Facilities:

    • Toilets
    • Barbecue Area
    • Café
    • Play Area
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    Located at the heart of Milton Keynes, Campbell Park hosts many of Milton Keynes’ major festivals and events. Its imaginative mix of formal gardens, water features, woodland and open pasture mean it’s an ideal spot to enjoy the changing seasons.

    Refreshments
    There are no refreshment facilities in Campbell Park other than during special events. However, there are a wealth of cafes, bars and restaurants in the nearby city centre, theatre district and Xscape centre.

  • Ouse Valley Park

    Facilities:

    • Toilets
    • Barbecue Area
    • Café
    • Play Area
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    The Ouse Valley Park lies in the floodplain of the Great Ouse which flows from Oxfordshire to the Wash. The park is the most rural of any found in Milton Keynes and is a great place to go to experience the feeling of the countryside without leaving the city. Old trees, hedgerows, meadows, and new plantations combine to provide excellent habitats for wildlife.

    Refreshments
    Refreshments can be found at Stony Stratford, Wolverton and New Bradwell alongside the park. At Old Wolverton the route passes directly by the Wolverton House pub restaurant.

  • Caldecotte Lake

    Facilities:

    • Toilets
    • Barbecue Area
    • Café
    • Play Area
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    Planning an outdoor adventure in Milton Keynes? Explore the beautiful location of Caldecotte Lake. Whether its watersports, birdwatching or children’s activities, you’re sure to have a great family day out, with lots of space for little ones to run around, plus some tranquil corners to relax as well.

    Refreshments
    The Caldecotte Pub & Grill is open for meals, snacks and hot and cold drinks.

  • Nature inspired activities and resources which you can do at home or in your local parks.
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  • We have received the Green Flag Award for our entire network of parks for the fourth year in a row!
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