Stanton Low Park
History and management
Despite being one of the newer parks in Milton Keynes the land at Stanton Low is rich in heritage. Towards the north-west corner of the park lies the below-ground remains of the former Stantonbury Manor. The site of this 17th Century manor house can be seen in a number of substantial earthworks that provided features of interest in the garden of what would have been a very impressive property before the house it was damaged by fire in 1743 and eventually demolished in 1791.
Next to the site of the Manor lie the above-ground remains of St Peter’s Church. A church is believed to have stood on this site for more than 1,000 years and parts of old church walls that still stand today date at least as far back as the 12th Century. The church would have been a focal point in the former medieval village of Stantonbury, which once stood on the land now mostly occupied by the Linford Lakes Nature Reserve. Some of the grassland in Stanton Low Park still displays the patterns of ridge and furrow that are a relic of the medieval open field farming system. The park also has areas of uneven ground that are evidence of old trackways, field boundaries and quarries where stone was taken from the land to provide building materials.
The land at Stanton Low was used for livestock grazing for many centuries. After farming ceased in 2007, much of the pastureland developed into meadows and ‘rough’ grassland habitat that are of great value for birds, insects and small mammals like voles and shrews. Visit the site on a summer’s evening at twilight and you may be lucky and see a Barn Owl silently gliding over the grassland hunting for prey or in autumn flocks of finches feeding on the seeds of plants like teasel and hogweed. The Parks Trust manages these fields through a combination of carefully controlled cutting and livestock grazing, leaving some areas uncut each year to provide continuous cover for wildlife.
There is a public car park in the south west corner of the park off the Newport Road next to the Oakridge Park Local Centre. There is no public parking for visitors to the park within the Oakridge Park residential area other than a small car park for disabled persons only off Selkirk Drive. Please ensure when visiting that you use the public car park and that you do not park outside any local residences.
There are no public toilets at Stanton Low Park.
There are hard-surfaced footpaths along the southern edge of the park near the Oakridge Park housing estate. One hard-surfaced path provides a loop beside the Canal. Other paths are unsurfaced and uneven. There are no surfaced paths to the north of the canal. The Swan’s Way is a public highway open to vehicular traffic and passes directly by the remains of St Peter’s Church. However there is no off-road parking available at the site.
Make a day of it
You can easily continue your journey into Linford Manor Park which is a few minutes’ walk or a short cycle ride away along the Grand Union Canal towpath.
Joan’s Piece is an area of plantation woodland on the west side of the canal overlooking Bradwell Lake. It was originally leased to the Woodland Trust by the Borough Council of Milton Keynes in 1987 as bare land suitable for planting, before The Parks Trust took over management in 2016. The woodland was planted on top of an existing refuse site and can only be accessed by the canal towpath. There is a woodchip path around Joan’s Piece, which features a mixture of ash, alder, field maple, cherry and willow trees, as well as blackthorn and bramble scrub.