Ouzel Valley Park
The Poplar Plantation
This lies at the northernmost end of the park and is planted with a striking mix of 19 species of this lovely tree, including some rare varieties. The plantation also features willows, including cricket bat willows which are exported to Pakistan, South Africa and Australia to make top-class cricket bats.
The Ouzel Valley Park is dotted with the remains of medieval villages and their associated fish ponds. Some of these villages may have been wiped out by the great plague in 1686 but most were simply abandoned as people moved further from the river to avoid flooding and as increased trade reduced their reliance on fish for food. There are interpretation boards throughout the park to help you make sense of what you are seeing. Towards the southern end of the park you can also see an undulation in the surface of the grassland. This is "ridge and furrow" and was caused by medieval ploughing. It demonstrates both that the riverside fields were used for medieval agriculture and also that they have not been ploughed since. If you are interested in historical agriculture it is also well worth visiting Milton Keynes Museum at Wolverton.
The Community Orchard
This is located in Woughton on the Green just south of the Olde Swan between the Newport Road and the Canal. The apple trees are all of old English varieties and the apples are free for anyone to take. Please help yourself but do not climb or damage the trees.
The Ouzel Valley Park is an excellent spot for cycling and walking, away from roads. Where its route borders The Open University there is often a cricket or football game to watch.
For full programme see our What’s On pages.
The mix of ancient trees, hedgerows and meadows provide excellent habitats for wildlife. Look out for Woodpeckers, while along the river itself you may be lucky enough to see Kingfisher or Little Grebe.
If you’re particularly interested in wildlife it’s well worth detouring from the river bank to do a circuit of Walton Lake where reedbeds and bird hides bring a huge mix of bird and insect life close to view.
There are six car parks in Woolstone village, five of which are dotted along Newport Road, while the sixth is at the junction of Pattison Lane and Marshalls Lane. Another two car parks are located in the village of Woughton On the Green, one just south of H7 Chaffron Way and the other adjacent to the Parkside Hotel to the south of the village centre.
There are no facilities within the park but there are public toilets at South Willen Lake which is five minutes’ walk from the top end of the park.
Access is good as the site is generally flat and the gates are all wheelchair accessible. There are also benches and tables throughout the site should you wish to take a break.