Living in the countryside near Milton Keynes is gorgeous although last week I found myself driving into the city in order to spend an afternoon with nature. Sounds odd? The city is blessed with four woodlands on its outskirts and if you walk in deep enough, the trees absorb the buzz of the traffic.
On the promise of some bluebells, and taking advantage of a rare day of sunshine, I jumped in the car and drove to Linford Wood. This ancient woodland, filled with oak, hazel and ash trees, was established in the 1200s and is now a well-established managed woodland. After parking up outside a grey, modern TalkTalk office, I wasn’t expecting much, but immediately after joining the footpath I walked past a grassy field filled with rabbits nibbling – without a touch of self-consciousness – at the grass and dandelions.
Even if you can’t always see it, it’s obvious this spot is a wildlife haven. Butterflies flutter lazily past; rustle in the undergrowth betray the path of small animals and every so often, the unmistakeable rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker can be heard. I might come back early in the morning to listen to the birdsong.
Several glades revealed crotcheted blankets of bluebells. The heavy rain of recent weeks had toppled some of them over but I think a week or two earlier and I would have captured the woods at their most spectacular.
An art trail leads through the woods which draws you to mysterious tree trunk carvings that kids will love. And next time, I’ll be bringing a packed lunch to make the most of the picnic tables scattered around.
Milton Keynes might get some bad press, but its residents are incredibly lucky to have natural oases such as Linford Wood on their doorstep.