Floodplain Forest

Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve.jpg

Formerly pasture land, these fields were quarried for sand and gravel by Hanson between 2007 and 2014. Once quarrying ceased, the site was redeveloped with 2km of footpaths, bridges and boardwalks and three bird watching hides installed, giving great views across this new landscape and its rich wildlife, with information boards explaining how the site was created. The nature reserve was finally opened to the public in August 2016 and has already gained a reputation as one of the best sites for bird watching and natural history in Buckinghamshire.

The site is designed to quickly fill up with floodwater when the River Great Ouse floods. A number of spillways throughout the park bring floodwater in at the west end and this then flows through the system, eventually running out of spillways downstream. This means that at times of high water parts of the nature reserve are not accessible – but typically the water drains away within a couple of days. (If you are visiting during periods of high rainfall, please check the water levels before you set off). This dynamic water system makes the site even more appealing to wildlife as the wet/dry margins of the lakes attract a great variety of wetland birds in winter and invertebrates in the spring and summer.

In winter, a great variety of wildfowl assembles on the two main lakes with species including Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler and Mallard as well as less common species like Goosander and Pintail. In spring and early summer a variety of wading birds visit the site on migration with a few such as Lapwings and Redshank staying to nest. Other notable birds include Cuckoo and several species of Owl.
A team of Volunteer Rangers patrol the park seven days a week and are on hand to answer questions you may have. As the site is very sensitive and home to many nesting birds and other secretive wildlife, please ensure that dogs are kept on a lead whilst walking through the nature reserve. For most of the year, wild Konik ponies and cattle graze the lake margins and islands and should be watched from a safe distance.

What to look out for

  1. Little Egrets and Grey Herons fishing throughout the year
  2. Breeding wader birds in the spring and early summer
  3. Colourful damselflies and dragonflies on sunny summer days
  4. Basking and swimming Grass Snakes from the spring through to the autumn
  5. Wintering ducks from late summer through to spring
  6. Bats at dusk on warm summer evenings
  7. Hunting Barn Owls and Little Owls
  8. Secretive otters, if you're very lucky, all year round!

Access information
Surfaced footpaths lead you from the car parks to the accessible circular route and bird hides, where you can discover more about the history of the nature reserve and its wildlife. Please keep to the paths and keep dogs on leads and under close control to avoid disturbing the wildlife.  

The reserve is situated in the River Great Ouse floodplain and is expected to flood, so may not be fully accessible at all times - before your visit check the current water level.

Toilets
Please note there are no toilet facilities as yet.

River Level Normal

The river level is quite low. All parts of the Floodplain Nature Reserve should be accessible today.

Floodplain Forest Flood Warning
  • Toilet-icon
  • fire-1345869_960_720_icon.png (1)
  • Beer.png
  • Cafes.png
  • playground-white-and-black-logo

Opening Times
The park is open at all times.

Address
The Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve is part of the Ouse Valley Park on the north western edge of Milton Keynes. The main car parks are located off Haversham Road and at Manor Farm Court (MK12 5NN) off Old Wolverton Road.

Click for directions

  • Canal Broadwalk

    Facilities:

    • Toilet-icon
    • fire-1345869_960_720_icon.png (1)
    • Beer.png
    • Cafes.png
    • playground-white-and-black-logo
    Caldecotte Lake - park.jpg

    The Grand Union Canal enters Milton Keynes at the Ouse Valley Park at Old Wolverton and snakes in a dramatic arc right through the east of the city until it leaves Milton Keynes at Water Eaton in Bletchley.

    Refreshments

  • Elfield Nature Park

    Facilities:

    • Toilet-icon
    • fire-1345869_960_720_icon.png (1)
    • Beer.png
    • Cafes.png
    • playground-white-and-black-logo
    elfield-park-sun-through-trees

    Elfield Nature Park is the hidden gem of Milton Keynes’ parks. A mixed landscape of woodland, grassland, scrub, ponds and ditches, the site is not normally open to the public but is very rich in flora and fauna.

    Refreshments

  • Furzton Lake

    Facilities:

    • Toilet-icon
    • fire-1345869_960_720_icon.png (1)
    • Beer.png
    • Cafes.png
    • playground-white-and-black-logo
    D81_1618South side of Furzton Lake park.jpg

    Furzton Lake’s open views make it a popular choice for joggers, cyclists and walkers. Created to act as a basin for floodwaters during rainy spells, the lake has matured into an easily accessible and peaceful oasis for local residents, office workers and wildlife.

    Refreshments
    The Furzton Lake Hotel is open for meals, snacks and hot and cold drinks.

  • Hazeley Wood

    Facilities:

    • Toilet-icon
    • fire-1345869_960_720_icon.png (1)
    • Beer.png
    • Cafes.png
    • playground-white-and-black-logo
    D81_3994Dandelion avenue Hazeley Wood park.jpg

    Hazeley Wood was planted by Milton Keynes Development Corporation in 1991. The long-term aim was to create a mature oak woodland for the new city. After many years of being a field of trees Hazeley is finally beginning to look and feel like a woodland. But there is still a long way to go: the wood will not finally reach maturity until 2141.

    Refreshments
    There are no facilities in the wood. The nearest shops are at Grange Farm, about ten minutes’ walk away, or Shenley Church End local centre or the Westcroft Centre, both of which are a few minutes' drive away.