Record numbers of people visited parks and beauty spots in Milton Keynes this year, figures show
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2022 has been the busiest year ever for parks, lakes and woodland all over Milton Keynes.
Figures from The Parks Trust show the scenic areas have been enjoyed by a record number of residents following the uplift of interest in the outdoors that was driven by Covid-19.
A total of 194,000 people – more than 70% of the city’s population of 270,200 – took part in activities and events in the parks in 2022, the 30th birthday year of The Parks Trust. This compares to 180,000 in 2019.
The activities they enjoyed included more than1,800 runs, walks, talks, fitness sessions, concerts and community get-togethers, as well as national commemorations for the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June and, three months later, her memorial.
The surge of interest during lockdown did not taper off as life adjusted to post-pandemic levels and the Trust had to expand its Operations team to keep pace with the resulting increase in landscaping and maintenance work.
It also brought litter cleansing in-house to collect the many tonnes of waste deposited by the extra visitors.
Throughout the year, the Trust continued its ongoing programme of outreach which included training for a diverse range of community groups who learned how to host events in the parks.
And around 14,600 local school children – double pre-Covid levels - boosted their environmental knowledge by participating in open days, outdoor sessions and assemblies run by the charity’s Outdoor Learning team.
In October 2022, the National Lottery-funded restoration of the historic Great Linford Manor Park was completed, bringing this much-loved heritage site back to life for all to enjoy. A ceremony marking the occasion was attended by the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Cllr Amanda Marlow.
The year also saw continued national recognition for Milton Keynes’ parks. In July, the charity was awarded two accolades from the prestigious Green Flag awards scheme and, in August, Great Linford Manor Park and Willen Lake were included among the nation’s favourite parks.
In the same month, Radio 4’s iconic Gardener’s Question Time chose The Parks Trust as host for two of its shows, with tickets selling out in minutes.
Many new trees have also been planted over the past 12 months – some of which were grown from acorns by local residents
CEO, Victoria Miles MBE, joined the charity in May after the retirement of David Foster.
Victoria said: “Our 30th birthday year has been a bumper one and everyone’s hard work has enabled local residents to really make the most out of the city’s wonderful green spaces.”
She added: I am grateful to our colleagues, volunteers, trustees and partners for the dedication and support they offer to our charity. I look forward to 2023 and our exciting plans for the year ahead.”
Established as a charity in 1992, The Parks Trust expertly cares for over 6,000 acres of green space in Milton Keynes including river valleys, ancient woodlands, lakes, parks and landscaped areas along the city’s grid roads.