A Royal visitor and festival of nature on top ten highlights

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A Royal visit, festival of nature and investment at Willen Lake are among the highlights for The Parks Trust as it reflects on the past year.

A full year of activities saw the completion of a £2.8million investment into Willen Lake and the opening of the new Splash ‘n’ Play park. The trust’s events team organised and enabled over 500 events and activities in the parkland, many of which were held to celebrate the city’s 50th anniversary.

David Foster, chief executive of The Parks Trust, said: “We think it is very important to reflect on our successes and highlights as we move from one year to the next; and what a year 2017 was! With everything from our core work of managing the parks and landscapes to new events, MK50 birthday celebrations to a Royal visit it was action-packed throughout, with plenty for everyone to enjoy. We look forward to an exciting 2018, with a fantastic programme of projects and events.”

The trust is a self-financing charity that cares for more than 6,000 acres of green spaces around Milton Keynes.

The trust’s 10 highlights of 2017:

> The trust organised a series of events and activities to celebrate the city’s 50th birthday. It established a permanent marked 25-mile challenge walk across its glorious parkland. It has already been well used by local charities and good causes for sponsored walks.

> The trust invested £2.8million into Willen Lake and opened Splash ‘n’ Play, one of the UK’s largest outdoor splash parks with over 70 water features.

> Four wild Konik ponies were introduced to the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve in May to graze the area and help maintain a diverse landscape.

> Three members of the Trust’s Operations team; Rob Riekie, Colin Savage, and Mark Colton celebrated 25 years at The Parks Trust.

> The trust partnered with the Environment Agency and Wild Trout Trust to create a 30-metre-long refuge in times of flood for fish along the River Ouzel at Woughton.

> The trust worked with Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust and Milton Keynes Natural History Society to present the city’s first ever week-long Festival of Nature.

> In July, the trust received the prestigious Green Flag Award for all of the parks, woodlands and lakes it manages across Milton Keynes.

> Community groups from across the city used the parkland for a variety of diverse events, including MK Hindu Association’s Mela, African Diaspora Day and Filipino Festival.

> The Duke of Cambridge visited Campbell Park in September as part of a special visit to celebrate the city’s 50th birthday.

> The Outdoor Learning Team worked with around 6,000 schoolchildren throughout the year, and now offers the John Muir award to groups across Milton Keynes.

Visit www.theparkstrust.com