It's many people's aspiration to live in a beautiful country like France.
On the other hand, nobody thinks of Milton Keynes as beautiful - it's
just a bunch of roundabouts and concrete cows, right?
I doubt anyone would wake up and decide they needed to explore Milton
Keynes. That's a pity, because this "city" has 2 remarkable
things going for it, that together make it unique.
Cycle path along the old Nobby Newport railway line
New Bradwell windmill - Grade II listed building
Milton Keynes has:
1) Many outstanding features
2) The best recreational transport facility in the country; known as
Milton Keynes is a new city, which to many people equates to a boring
grid-work of roads and duplication of unimaginative buildings, on a
grand scale. To shake this popular belief it's necessary to see the
city by bicycle.
Bancroft Roman villa
The Redway is Milton Keynes' system of dual-use cycling / walking pathways.
Its 272km network was part of the city at the start and therefore its
needs have been well catered for.
This makes a strong contrast with Sefton (where we now live). The Sefton
coast is beautiful, and a ride through Ainsdale wood is exhilarating
but there's always the problem of having to interact with heavy traffic,
when cycling on a circular route, to or from the pine wood.
One of the Homeworld exhibition houses
The Milton Keynes Redway is relaxing because you never have to worry
about fitting in with traffic at busy junctions. At every roundabout,
the cycleway is routed beneath the road.
Now that sort of infrastructure costs millions to implement and so
this system is likely to remain unique to Milton Keynes.
Britain is only a small island and new cities are never built on virgin
land. Instead, what Milton Keynes (and the redway) does is to link,
and therefore give easy access to, a number of established towns and
villages - each with their own special character.
Central Milton Keyenes
Rob had a favourite
cycle ride in Milton Keynes. It was 15 miles long and he cycled
it, on average, 4 times a week - a total of approximately 15,000 miles
in the five years we lived there. That kept him fit!
The photos on this page show a few of the things that went by during
the ride. They are mainly photos used in our video of 2002 and are in
the order in which they appeared on the route.
Campbell Park, in the centre of the city was just beyond the halfway
point on the ride. In this photo, both the theatre and the Xscape building
can be seen in the background.
A video* taken from one of our model aircraft, flying from Campbell
Park in 2003, can be seen below.
The biggest slide in Milton Keynes - couldn't resist going down that.
Stopping to watch some cricket in the summer months. A relaxing thing
to do, whether you understand the game or not.
The North Lake at Willen.
While the South Lake is geared up for watersports; sailing, cable waterski
etc, the North Lake is for wildlife and quiet contemplation.
The peace pagoda at Willen.
The beautiful church at Willen, designed by Robert Hooke in the seventeenth
century. The church's
website has some interesting information on the building and there
is also a fascinating website devoted entirely to Robert
In 2000, when Alex was four, he had his own seat on the back of Rob's
In 2008, one of our favourite bits of equipment was the bike rack on
the back of our car. We always took our bikes with us when visiting
friends in MK. Here's Alex, cycling over Grafton Street (V6).
Towards the end of the ride, the last landmark before heading back
to Newport Pagnell, is the set of old brick kilns at Linford.
That covers a cycle ride through the city centre and to the North,
but there's still plenty to see in the
South of the city. Maybe another time.