Willen Lake, Milton Keynes
With more than 1 million visitors to the shores of Willen Lake each year, there is a huge variety of activities and leisure facilities with something for everyone. With one hundred acres of water alongside 80 acres of landscaped grounds, plus miles of cycle ways Willen Lake is the ideal place to unwind with family and friends.
You can enjoy a range of activities on and around the lake, from Sailing to Cable Skiing and High Ropes to Adventure Golf. You can also take part in one of the certified courses or activity packages available on the site. With the vast number of activities available, it’s totally up to you how hard you play!
Why not just jump on the Dash Direct service or the number 36 to Leighton Buzzard Railway Station. From here you can jump on a train to Milton Keynes and then catch the number 12 bus service which operates a half-hourly service to Willen Lake.
For more information please go to www.whitecap.co.uk or call 01908 691 620.
Stockgrove Country Park
Comprising of an 80 acre park, Stockgrove Country Park has an interesting history dating back to medieval times. Situated just outside the town at Heath and Reach, it has a lake, woodland trails and picnic area, plus many facilities such as access for less-abled people, an information centre run by the Greensand Trust who manage the park, a snack bar, and public toilets. The Greensand Trust also organise a “wildlife watch” club for younger children.
For those keen to take on a challenge, Bedfordshire’s long-distance walk “The Greensand Ridge Walk” starts in the town centre and passes through Stockgrove on its way to Gamlingay 40 miles to the east. (www.greensandridgewalk.co.uk).
Why not take jump on the new Dash Direct bus service to get to this location. Simply take this service to the High Street and then take the number 10, 10A or 150 services to Stockgrove Park.
It’s a lovely place to walk and cycle or take a picnic for all the family.
Tel: 01525 237 760 (Greensand Trust)
Greensand Ridge Walk
The Greensand Ridge stretches 40 miles from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay on the Cambridgeshire border via Woburn, Ampthill and Sandy. Made of sands and sandstone deposited 120 million years ago, The Ridge creates a distinctive landscape of gently rolling hills and small valleys. These sandy soils of the Greensand Ridge provide an ideal area for walking, cycling and horse-riding throughout the year.
Tel: 01234 228 324.
Sundon Hills Country Park
Situated at one of the highest points in Bedfordshire, the Sundon Hills offer fantastic views over the surrounding countryside. The site is important for many species of plants and animals including foxes, badgers and the Great Spotted Woodpecker.
There is a lovely country park and picnic area adjoining the Icknield Way footpath and is a lovely place to relax and watch the world go by.
This nature reserve was formed by medieval quarrying which left spoil heaps that have developed into impressive flower-rich chalk grasslands. Totternhoe Stone is a strong durable chalk that has long been used for building, including Westminster Abbey.
At the top of the hill are the remains of a motte and bailey castle and the steep slopes of the ramparts form an impressive approach to the site.
In the nearby Totternhoe Quarry, steep gullies form valleys along which stone would once have been brought from the quarries and mines deep beneath adjacent fields.
Both sites have since developed an impressive range of wild flowers, including many types of orchids. The chalk grassland has been grazed for centuries producing a short turf that is low in nutrients. This prevents any one species from becoming dominant. The two sites are linked by green lanes, which are old drove roads, along which livestock would have been taken to and from the important market town of Dunstable.
You can take the number 73 bus from Billington Road direct to Totternhoe:
MON-SAT departs 10:11, 12:11 and 16:21; returning at 09:30, 10:30 and 14:00.
You can always enjoy a drink in the cosy thatched Cross Keys pub while you wait for the bus back!
For more information why not visit http://www.wildlifebcnp.org/reserves/reserve.php?reserveid=29
Forest Centre and the Forest of Marston Vale
The Forest is situated between Milton Keynes and Bedford and covers sixty-one square miles of Bedfordshire. There are a growing number of beautiful woodlands, wetlands and open spaces for everyone to enjoy. Join us as a Friend of the Forest, adopt a tree, make a donation or enjoy a drink at the Lakeside bar and cafe – every penny is ploughed back into creating the Forest.
Travelling to the Forest Centre by public transport is really easy. Simply take the number 36 or Dash Direct bus to Leighton Buzzard Railway Station, which runs frequent trains to Bletchley. Once you arrive in Bletchley, just change for a branch-line ride to Millbrook or Stewartby station from where the Centre is just a short walk away. You can also take your bikes on the train and ride when you get there! You can also use the number 160 or 165 bus from Leighton Buzzard High Street.
Why not visit www.marstonvale.org or call 01234 767 037 for more details
National Cycle Route No.6
This long distance cycle route passes through the town on its way between London and the Lake District. If you were feeling energetic you could cycle all the way to either end, or if something less strenuous is in order there are numerous other cycle trails around the town. As part of the town’s status as a “Cycle Town” there has been a lot of investment in cycling infrastructure throughout the town.
For further information about this and other cycle routes throughout the town, a cycle map is available from Leighton Linslade Town Council. A number of films are being made to show you how easy it is to ride around the town – for example this one from Billington Road to Tiddenfoot and the railway station:
A printable copy of the town cycle map is here:
Parks and Bandstand
There are many parks and children’s playgrounds located throughout the town. The two largest are at Pages Park on Billington Road (5 minutes walk), which includes a children’s play area, pavilion, cricket pitch, 3 tennis courts, basketball court, 3 football pitches and even a croquet lawn. The second is situated at Parsons Close Recreation Ground in the town centre, within close proximity to All Saints’ Church (20 minutes walk, 10 minutes cycle). This includes a children’s play area, paddling pool, bandstand and flower gardens and a purpose-built skate park for older children. During the summer there are free summer band concerts at Parson’s Close from 3-5pm (see local press for more details).
Why not take a look at your Cycle Map for the town to see which route is easiest for you to get to these lovely parks. Locations of the BMX tracks at Danes Field and the Bike Jumps at Vandyke Road are also identified on this map.
Situated to the north of the town, the canal and the River Ouzel provide a peaceful “green corridor” which can be followed by either walking or cycling.
A pleasant round trip (45 minutes walk) can be made by taking the number 36 or Dash Direct bus to the town centre (10 minutes). From here you can walk along Bridge Street and across the main road next to Leighton Middle School; following the riverside path. Turn left over a wooden bridge which brings you back across the meadow to the canal bridge bus stop alongside Tesco. The walk takes you past ancient pollarded willow trees and rare black poplars.
National Cycle Route 6 follows the canal towpath all the way to Bletchley and Milton Keynes (1 hour) – with at least two canal-side pubs to rest at! – and you can return on the train with your bikes.
Gulliver’s is a family theme park designed to cater for families with children between the age of two and thirteen. All rides and attractions are designed to offer the whole family a full day out of fun and excitement.
One of four Gulliver’s Theme Parks throughout the UK, the Eco Park at Milton Keynes is the newest park containing rides, attractions, shows, restaurants and shops.
The Park is easily accessible by public transport by taking the number 36 or Dash Direct bus to Leighton Buzzard Railway Station, for frequent trains to Milton Keynes (only 2 stops away!). From Milton Keynes Station you can then take the number 8 bus from stop 34 and alight at Woolstone Roundabout, from where Gulliver’s is a short walk.
For further information about the park and what it has to offer call 01908 609 001 or visit www.gulliversfun.co.uk.
This is one of the oldest Motte and Bailey castles in Britain, which has been on the site since around 1066.
Located right next to the railway station in Berkhamsted it is easily accessible by public transport. Why not take the number 36 or Dash Direct bus to Leighton Buzzard Railway Station, and then take one of the frequent trains to Berkhamsted.
For further information call 01442 877 592 or visit www.berkhamsted-castle.org.uk.
This is an old Iron Age hill fort with fantastic views over the whole Vale of Aylesbury as far as Leighton Buzzard 10 miles away. Being so high up, this is ideal for flying model aircraft and kites! To help you on those hot days there is usually an ice-cream van located at one of the car parks during the summer.
This is located to the east of Ivinghoe Village, via the B488 Tring – Dunstable Road.