Saturday, 21 March 2009

Milton Keynes

So ..................... have you ever been to Milton Keynes? What sort of place do you imagine it to be?

Milton Keynes was actually designed as a new town in about 1967 to relieve housing conjestion and poor living conditions in London.

Milton Keynes covers 22 thousand acres and incorporates not only the original village of Milton Keynes but also other small towns that existed:- Bletchley, Wolverton, Stony Stratford and 15 other villages and farmland.

Interesting Point: Milton Keynes is equidistant from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge.

As with all other new towns of the time (Harlow, Basildon, Welwyn Garden City and Stevannage) Milton Keynes has characteristic grid roads that run between districts, lakes and parkland.

Cycle ways, poplar trees and daffodils (in the Spring) abound.

And ..... apparently, Milton Keynes is a shopper's paradise!

The cycle way network is second to none linking the linear parks (the flood plains of the Great Ouse and it's tributary The Ouzel) that run right through the town. John and I cycled to an area called Willen Lake. It is fantastic! A large, superbly managed area - free bird hide over-looking the lake - excellent cyle paths - amazing Buddist pagoda ..... for starters. The population of Milton Keynes are not short of leisure space!! According to a pair of well-established and very sociable locals and new boat owners (Pete and Anne on n/b Tortola), Milton Keynes is England's best kept secret.

The Peace Pagoda in Willen Park. Apparently, there are hundreds of Japanese Cherry Blossom trees planted behind. What a picture that must be when they are in bloom?

We met another resident walking round the lake with his elderley father who said that Milton Keynes was under-rated and he couldn't wait to return every winter from his second home in France!

The Grand Union Canal runs for ten miles through the centre of Milton Keynes, twisting this way and that through the various housing developments - from Fenny Stratford to the aqueduct over the Ouse at Wolverton. Almost throughout, the towpath is well maintained, free of litter and graffiti and well supplied with bins for refuse deposited by our lovely cannine friends! Not one sunken shopping trolley was spotted! It certainly does not feel like you are passing through a major town. There are plans afoot to link the Grand Union at Milton Keynes with the Great Ouse at Bedford. I do so hope this happens one day and that John and I will still be fit enough to cruise it!!!

So ......... we looked at some of the canalside property and thought ..... maybe? After talking to the locals, I don't think we could afford it!!!!

BUT .... from what we have seen and heard, Milton Keynes seems to us to have a great deal going for it! Comments from those who know?

This week: We have had a lovely cruise from Norton Junction just outside Daventry to where we are now - just outside of Leighton Buzzard. The weather has been glorious and lots of other boaters have been out and about to talk to.

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