The four fishponds at Middleton (Milton Keynes Village) were originally part of a larger group of earthworks which included a moated site to the west of All Saints' Church. These artificial ponds were probably constructed in the early fourteenth century by the lord of the manor of Milton Keynes, Philip de Aylesbury, who also held several other manors in north Buckinghamshire. The site is now a scheduled ancient monument.
The ponds were originally fed with water directly from the water table, and also by a leat from the nearby moat. Adjoining ponds would have been linked by a series of timber sluices, which were used to regulate water levels, and allowed individual ponds to be drained for cleaning. Today the ponds have been re-landscaped and water is supplied by rainfall recharging the ponds and underlying gravel, or through surface water run-off from local housing, providing a modern day solution to water management.
The ponds are used by breeding amphibians, including frogs, toads, smooth newts and the European Protected Species Great Crested Newt. These are also known as 'warty newts' as they are dark in appearance with a white spotty complexion on their face and a bright yellow underside with black dots, which are as individual as a fingerprint. Male Great Crested Newts have a silver streak along both sides of their tails, and in the breeding season have a visible crest.
Reed buntings can be seen flitting through the pond vegetation feeding on seeds and insects. Keep a look out for insects that use the ponds such as water beetles, caddis flies and dragonflies.
There is a small car park located close to Milton Keynes Village Hall.
Middleton Wood Meadow
We are working with Community Trees: MK, and Broughton and Milton Keynes Parish Council to enhance an area of Middleton Park, improving the habitat for wildlife by creating a woodland meadow.
The project will last 5 years (and beyond) and will include:
- 1000s of native trees and shrubs being planted
- Development of native wild flower areas
- Paths for easy access
- And more
Planting will start in March 2021 with 1200 whips being planted. The plants were sourced by Community Trees:MK from OVO Energy ‘I Dig Trees” and The Woodland Trust’s nationwide planting initiatives. The Parks Trust will continue to care for them for decades to come, as they develop and mature, and will add to the numbers of trees and shrubs in the near future. Read more about the project here.