Ouse Valley Park
About Ouse Valley Park
Experience an escape to the countryside with a visit to Ouse Valley Park, a linear park that is a fantastic place to enjoy a walk, run or cycle. Either wander along for a peaceful adventure, take in the abundance of wildlife, or explore the historical sites that make up the history of Milton Keynes. This area has so much to do and explore, making it a great place to plan a visit for a day.
Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve is a marvelling site for nature enthusiasts located in the river valleys of Old Wolverton. A series of channels and pools have been created to form a complex wetland habitat that is attractive to a wide diversity of wildlife. Our Konik Ponies also call this place home and have been introduced to graze the site and help maintain the luscious landscape. Easy access paths and bird observation hides are provided to maximise the enjoyment of visitors.
Go further and come across Stony Stratford Nature Reserve, located between Queen Eleanor Street and the A5. This reserve is home to several artificial wetland habitats that waterfowl and waders use mainly. Originally used for gravel working, we have managed this site to enhance the quality of life, including the forming of a new island, a new pond and several ditches. A bird hide is provided to see the landscape of the main lake and meadows.
Water Mills have been a feature of the river valley in Ouse Valley Park since the Domesday Book surveys in 1086. Those at Wolverton Mill and Stony Stratford would have been extended and rebuilt many times. The Stratford mill was destroyed by fire in 1985 but was rebuilt on the original floor plan as private apartments. Its millrace, which had long been dammed and practically static, has now been reopened. On the other hand, Wolverton Mill Balancing Lake was last rebuilt in the 18th century and is now privately owned. Several hybrid Black Poplars line it up, and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers can sometimes be seen in their upper branches.
The Iron Trunk Aqueduct carries the Grand Union Canal over the Ouse at 10.8 metres and connects Wolverton and Cosgrove. The Grand Union Canal was built between 1793 and 1805 to link London with the industrial Midlands and North, carrying a wide range of goods in horse-drawn narrow boats. This area is now a popular route for walking, cycling, and pleasure boating. Scrub and marshy regions border the canal's path through the park, providing an excellent habitat for various birds. There are steps up to the channel from the riverside walk and a tunnel which takes the path under the canal.
Holy Trinity Church stands on what was formerly the site of Wolverton Motte and Bailey (the large mound behind the church is all that remains currently). This was built in 1100 AD by the Wolverton family, who made it the centre of their extensive estate. The remains of the other estate buildings and the homes of the villagers who worked it can still be seen in the lumps and bumps across the fields both east and west of the church.
Manor Farm Court stands on the site of a large medieval farm established here by the Oxfordshire priory of Clattercote. The earliest buildings that remain on the site date from the 17th century, but most of the farm was rebuilt in the early 19th century. After falling into disrepair, the farmhouse has been refurbished and sympathetically converted into apartments, while The Parks Trust has transformed its outbuildings into modern business units that are available to rent.
The mix of ancient trees, hedgerows, meadows, and recently created wetlands and tree plantations combine to provide excellent habitats for wildlife - which will be further enhanced as the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve develops. Look out for Woodpeckers, while along the river itself, you may be lucky enough to see Kingfisher or Little Grebe.
Free parking is available.
There are no public toilets in the park but in Stony Stratford town centre at its north-west end.
Accessibility is generally good, but the path passes under the canal at the Iron Trunk midway through the park. The route is narrow and dark at this point, making it unsuitable for those in wheelchairs or motorised carriages.