As the wintry weather takes hold, The Parks Trust, the self-funding charity that cares for Milton Keynes’ green spaces, urges all residents and visitors to its parks to be extra cautious around lakes and rivers.
Smaller bodies of water, such as the Grand Union Canal and the ponds at Westcroft tend to freeze over very quickly during the winter months, with the larger lakes following suit as the temperature continues to drop.
While these frozen over areas may seem like a tempting playground for many, the risks are real; statistics from the Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) show that in the last 10 years over 20 people have died after falling through ice, with young children and males of any age most at risk. More than 50 per cent of ice related drownings involved an attempted rescue of another person or a dog.
Flooded areas are also a risk for those in Milton Keynes. The Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve, located behind Old Wolverton, and the car park on Haversham Road near Ouse Valley Park are, like the rest of the river valleys, particularly prone to extreme flooding.
Rob Rieke, Landscape and Operations Director for The Parks Trust, said: “We want to encourage everybody to get outside and enjoy Milton Keynes’ diverse landscape, which is just as beautiful during the winter months. However, the extreme weather we often experience at this time of year brings with it hidden dangers.
“Playing on iced over lakes may seem like fun but you truly will be dicing with death. We urge everyone to admire from the safety of the land and keep off the ice and out of any water, while also keeping an eye on all children and pets.
“There are also many areas of our city that will be prone to considerable flooding after heavy rainfall, and it is vital people do not try to access these, even if they are a favoured or habitual route. Keep safe, look after loved ones and have a great winter!”