Backup Only

This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Saturday Extra Walk - Roundabouts and Concrete Cows: Milton Keynes Circular

SWC Walk 01/004 – Milton Keynes Circular (via Nether Thistleththwaythe)

Length:  16.7 km (10.4 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  104m
Net Walking Time:  3 ½ hours
Toughness:  1 out of 10 
Take the 10.10 Chester train from  London Euston, arrives Milton Keynes Central 10.40.
Return trains are numerous, journey time from 34 minutes. Buy a Milton Keynes Central return.

To (belatedly) celebrate the 50-year anniversary of its declaration as a New Town, this walk through Milton Keynes (or MK, as it’s passionately called) surveys as much the cultural and architectural highlights of this candidate for European Capital of Culture 2023, as well as the many other sites of interest. Find out how good British town planning can be when starting from scratch in a place with virtually no history at all! From 151 residents to 270.000 in just 50 years, there must be something to it!
Although first mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086, and with remains of a Benedictine Priory and a celebrated ancient motte-and-bailey site (the Shenley Toot), it is now more famous for its roundabouts (all 124 of them, we will pass a selection of the 10 types of roundabouts present in MK, especially the acclaimed magic roundabout and the Hamburger throughabout) and concrete cows (passed en route, of course), as well as its five pyramid-shaped buildings (all passed en route), giving rise to the theory that MK is the HQ of the Illuminati (for further evidence of strange going ons: the Boulevard in the centre also seems to be aligned with the Summer Solstice sunrise).
But there are plenty of other sights to fetch your interest: Bletchley Park, the birthplace of modern computing, 22 million trees, more bridges than Venice, and the well preserved historic Milton Keynes village centre.
After a long stretch along the Grand Union Canal and the quietly meandering River Great Ouse, we’ll briefly link up with a tour guide from the Twentieth Century Society, who will give us expert insight into the global significance of MK’s architecture, especially its confusing grid road system, endless linear streets and monolithic soulless office blocks reminiscent of Soviet era planning, as well as its listed shopping centre (one of more than 2.000 listed buildings, no less), the biggest theatre outside London, Britain’s biggest snow dome and the atmospheric bus station.

Lunch: either at the very traditional, quintessential, quiet English pub The Flying Shuttle in the Bolton suburb of MK (8.0 km/5.0 mi, some food of sorts to 13.48) or at The Swan Inn in Milton Keynes Village (10.4 km/6.5 mi, “Best pub in the Southeast 2016”, food all day).
Tea: several options on Anagram Street in Central MK, recommended are Money Tinkles, Lemoney Stink and Silent Monkey.
For walk directions, map, height profile, some photos and gpx/kml files click here.


Anonymous said...

I've just slipped on a cowpat!

Mr M Tiger said...

Oh dear! I hope it hadn't set.

Walker said...

With two interesting new walks already posted for today, perhaps we don't need any others. Whadja think?

Anonymous said...

Third walk please. Classic SWC walk would be nice!

Walker said...

The Flying Shuttle may have received some bad press in the past, but it has now turned itself around and is well known for its fish dishes. Its 'Poisson d'Avril' (I don't know how to put a link in a comment, but Google it) has been described as "unbelievable" by one critic and "simply incredible" by another. You have to get to the pub before midday to order it, however

Thomas G said...

reg. "Poisson d'Avril": amazing stuff; getting my paper fish ready for Saturday.

Thomas G said...

One thinks of the English as eccentric, but they have nothing on the French...

Anonymous said...

Was it just me on this walk? Caught the train half an hour later than the one advertised, having slept in, and then blundered around trying to find the group. Lots of grass, underpasses, tarmac paths, car parks and roundabouts. Distant houses and offices appearing like mirages over the horizon. I couldn't find any pubs but finally found the shopping centre where I had a cheese and onion slice (don't look at the sat fat content) in Greggs, washed down with a cup of tea. I did some shopping in Primark and caught the 3.30 train home.