Linford Lakes Nature Reserve
The site, which is at Great Linford, was established as a wildfowl research centre in 1970 following decades of mineral extraction in the area. Previously known as Hanson Environmental Study Centre, The Parks Trust purchased the site in 2015 and it is now known as Linford Lakes Nature Reserve and Study Centre. The site continues to be used as a nature reserve and a base for environmental education. It is widely regarded as the most biodiverse site in Milton Keynes.
The 37 hectare site consists of a large lake, reedbeds, wet woodland and several small meadows interlaced with a number of smaller lakes and ponds. Four bird watching hides are located giving fine views of the wildlife and beautiful scenery. The lakes attract a good variety of wildfowl and passage wading birds and breeding birds include Barn Owl, Cuckoo and Common Tern. In early spring, one of the islands supports a thriving heronry and good views can be obtained of Herons and Little Egrets on their nests. In winter, rare visitors include Bittern, Great White Egret and Short Eared Owl. The woodland and meadows support a wide variety of mammals including Water Shrew, Otter, Harvest Mouse and hedgehog and a dedicated group of volunteers studies the mammal populations. Foxes, deer and badgers may sometimes be glimpsed on early morning visits. Linford Lakes is also known for important populations of insects, especially dragonflies and moths.
Access to Linford Lakes Nature Reserve is by annual permit which can be purchased here.
However, the Friends of Linford Lakes (FoLLNR) run Open Sunday events on the third Sunday of each month, so members of the public can visit the site for free on those days and see if it is for them. Refreshments are served at these events and guided walks offered. Outside of the bird nesting season, a circular 1.5 mile walk around the whole nature reserve is allowed, taking in a stretch of the River Great Ouse where even more species may be observed. For more information about the Friends of Linford Lakes click here.
Toilet facilities are available in the study centre, these are accessible only during open Sunday events.
Useful information about getting to our parks
The park and car parks open at all times, however you will need a permit to access the site. You can purchase a permit here https://theparkstrust.digitickets.co.uk/category/13969
The entrance to the reserve is at the end of a private access road, the junction for which is found about halfway along the Newport Pagnell to Wolverton Road (which runs north of and parallel to the A422). From the east (M1/Newport Pagnell), the turning for the access road is on the right-hand side in a row of poplar trees shortly after passing the Redhouse Park housing estate and the traffic lights on the junction of Broadway Avenue. From the west (A5) after passing through Wolverton and New Bradwell you will pass over the Grand Union Canal and the Black Horse pub on the right. The turning for the access road to the reserve is about 200 yards further on the left-hand side after the canal bridge and pub. After turning off the Wolverton Road through the metal gates, take the first left fork and follow the tarmac access road to the Study Centre and Nature Reserve entrance. Please note that the land and lakes either side of the access road are private with no public access. Please park only in the car park at the Study Centre; there is no parking for Nature Reserve visitors along the access road.