Least-known lake in Milton Keynes is described as 'hidden treasure' for wildlife - including a colony of grass snakes

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It’s one of the best places in MK to spot them

The Parks Trust is encouraging people not to forgot the city’s least-known lake – Walton Lake.

And they’ve described it as a “hidden treasure” for walkers and wildlife lovers.

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The lake is situated roughly half-way along the Ouzel Valley linear park and can be accessed from a car park in Newport Road on Woughton Park. People walk along a wooden boardwalk to reach it.

Walton Lake is the least known lake in MK but a great place to visitWalton Lake is the least known lake in MK but a great place to visit
Walton Lake is the least known lake in MK but a great place to visit

It’s unusual because it has a large reedbed, which attracts specific wildlife. The Parks Trust's workers and volunteers regularly cut the bed to create a diverse mosaic of open water and blocks of reed of different heights. Mature reed beds need a lot of management to keep them in optimum condition. If they are neglected trees will start to invade, drying out the reedbeds until eventually the habitat is lost.

Originally built as one of the first balancing lakes for the new city, Walton Lake was no longer needed to absorb floodwater once the much larger Willen and Caldecotte Lakes were created.

"It was therefore allowed to fill with reeds, creating a very different habitat from the open waters of most of Milton Keynes' other lakes,” said a Parks Trust spokesperson.

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"This lake boasts a variety of wildlife habitats with the towering reedbeds and surrounding ponds creating a haven for bird and water life. Look out for Reed Warbler, Reed Buntings and Water Rail, Sparrowhawks, Green Woodpeckers and breeding Kestrels. During the summer months the lakeside hums with insect species such as dragon and damselfly."

The spokesperson added: “Walton Lake also has a colony of grass snakes whose shyness makes them hard to spot elsewhere.”

This is endorsed by the Milton Keynes Natural History Society, which states: “Walton Lake is one of the best sites in Milton Keynes for Grass Snakes which prey on the large population of frogs and toads living here. Snakes can sometimes be seen basking on the woodchip paths or even on the boardwalk.”

Otters, mink and harvest mice have also been spotted there.

In 2002 The Parks Trust built the boardwalk into the reedbed. This route through the reeds features a bird hide, offering opportunities to see the bird and water life close-up.

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