Linford Lakes Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes
The site, which is at Great Linford, was established as a wildfowl research centre in 1970 following decades of mineral extraction in the area. Previously known as Hanson Environmental Study Centre, The Parks Trust purchased the site in 2015 and it is now known as Linford Lakes Nature Reserve and Study Centre. The site continues to be used as a nature reserve and a base for environmental education. It is widely regarded as the most bio-diverse site in Milton Keynes.
The 37 hectare site consists of a large lake, reedbeds, wet woodland and several small meadows interlaced with a number of smaller lakes and ponds. Four bird watching hides are located giving fine views of the wildlife and beautiful scenery. The lakes attract a good variety of wildfowl and passage wading birds and breeding birds include Barn Owl, Cuckoo and Common Tern. In early spring, one of the islands supports a thriving heronry and good views can be obtained of Herons and Little Egrets on their nests. In winter, rare visitors include Bittern, Great White Egret and Short Eared Owl. The woodland and meadows support a wide variety of mammals including Water Shrew, Otter, Harvest Mouse and hedgehog and a dedicated group of volunteers studies the mammal populations. Foxes, deer and badgers may sometimes be glimpsed on early morning visits. Linford Lakes is also known for important populations of insects, especially dragonflies and moths.
Access to Linford Lakes Nature Reserve is by annual permit which can be purchased here.
However, the Friends of Linford Lakes (FoLLNR) run Open Sunday events on the third Sunday of each month, so members of the public can visit the site for free on those days and see if it is for them. Refreshments are served at these events and guided walks offered. Outside of the bird nesting season, a circular 1.5 mile walk around the whole nature reserve is allowed, taking in a stretch of the River Great Ouse where even more species may be observed.
For more information about the Friends of Linford Lakes click here.
Toilet facilities are available in the study centre, these are accessible only during open Sunday events.
For the move-able Streetmap link click here