Water Safety in Milton Keynes

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Water safety is an important topic within Milton Keynes and The Parks Trust is working with other interested bodies to promote safety for the many water bodies present here. Around 125 fatal drowning accidents occur at inland waterways every year. In almost half of those cases the persons involved did not actually intend to be in the water (source RoSPA).

It is not always obvious what lies beneath the surface of the water, including fast currents, litter, crayfish and hidden obstacles. Weirs and other structures pose their own dangers and can trap people in the recirculating current. In addition, water tends to stay cold even in summer and cold-water shock is a major factor in many fatal incidents.

For these reasons the simple message promoted by The Parks Trust and others is to stay out of the water and if you do find yourself unintentionally in the water to float on your back to survive (Ref RNLI Respect the Water Campaign). Swimming pools are the safest place to go if you want to swim.

Call the police on the non-emergency number (101) if you see people in the water as (in most cases) they are not supposed to be there. Call the emergency response number (999) if someone is in trouble as Bucks Fire & Rescue have a dedicated water rescue team.

Open water swimming is a recreational activity and when this does take place in water owned by The Parks Trust it will be a managed activity. Open water swimming sessions take place at Willen Lake South ran by Love Open Water. It should be stressed that this activity is fully managed and life-guarded so that it can be enjoyed safely.

Free or wild swimming where people swim in non-organised activities is not permitted by The Parks Trust in any of its water.

Discover our parks

  • Willen Lake South


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    Willen Lake is Milton Keynes’ most popular park. Visitors take part in watersports activities, go cycling, enjoy the playground, try the high ropes course or simply picnic along Willen’s shores. It’s a great place to entertain all ages of family and friends, whether it’s a visit to the café or restaurant, a stroll, trying a beginners’ course in sailing or hiring a pedalo or bike.

  • Willen Lake North


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    Willen Lake North 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.

  • Teardrop Lakes


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    Part of the Loughton Valley Park, the four Teardrop Lakes are also a destination in their own right, providing fishing waters and a peaceful escape for those working in nearby offices.

  • Stony Stratford Nature Reserve


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    In 2008 with support from the Riverside Parks Group, work began to re-establish Stony Stratford Nature Reserve as a major local wildlife park. Parties of volunteers have cleared islands of scrub allowing Wildfowl to nest. There are also renovated and painted bird hides and the ponds have been cleared of invasive vegetation as well as the restoration of a sand martin nest bank, which has enabled Kingfishers to nest successfully.

  • Campbell Park


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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.