Walk 162: Milton Keynes Lake to Lake Circular

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 12 miles (19.3 km)

Time to walk: Roughly 4 hours

Difficulty: All on hard paths / towpaths so suitable for disability / accessibility on all levels & in all conditions. As it is all on hard surfaces, we recommend you wear comfortable footwear (don’t do what I did & wear a brand new pair of walking boots on their maiden voyage! Blisters for days!

Parking: Park at Caldecotte Lake, south car park (MK7 8AD)

Public toilets: The Windmill pub at Caldecotte Lake & at Willen Lake cafe. There are no public toilets.

Map of the route:

This walk was undertaken for us by Matt & Maria Angelmazz Bellhouse (thank you!). As can be seen from the above map, it’s a circular route that links the two main lakes just over the border in Milton Keynes

The website already has two separate walks covering Willen Lake & Caldecotte Lake so it’s great to also have one that connects both together & I can see a few of you challenging yourselves on a long summer’s day

It’s a 12 mile route so shall we get going?

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk starts in the south car park at Caldecotte Lake, which is located in the south of the town of Milton Keynes. The lake has a circular path around it, along with various activity trails, different sports facilities etc. It’s also well known for its Miniature Railway which runs between April & October. The lake’s also a haven for a variety of wildlife & has a few bird hides

Turn left & begin to follow the pathway around, keeping the lake to your right…

2. As you get to the end of the first semi circular section, take a left up the last set of steps…

…& head directly across & around the top of the next semi circular section

3. Follow the path around to the left…

…between the MK Sailing club yard & clubhouse, then turn right to rejoin the lake path

Feel free to throw in a little exercise on some of the apparatus or do some bird watching before continuing along the pathway…

4. Stay on the main lake path, ignoring any turns off the loop for now. We’re heading for Caldecotte Lake North

Approaching the road with the Premier Inn on the left, stay on the lake path down the hill & under the bridge. The pathway can sometimes be a little slippy down here so watch your step…

5. Welcome to the North Side of Caldecotte Lake & a fine sight immediately with the unusually shaped Caldecotte pub – too soon for refreshments at this stage though – we’re just getting started!

This tower windmill was actually built as a dummy as part of the pub / hotel complex

6. Remain on the lake path dodging the many geese – you might also see the local Action4Youth boating club out on the water too…

The path continues round behind the pub & we’re staying on it a little longer, heading towards Ouzel valley

7. You’ll cross through the weir…

… & then continue ahead until you reach the fork in the pathway, at which point we take a left & leave the Lake behind us

The beauty of this walk is it’s different in every season & you’ll see something new every time

8. Turn left through the North car park…

…& cross the road bearing left towards the Public Bridleway, turning right…

& continuing along the pathway towards Willen Lake with the beautiful River Ouzel to your right.

The River Ouzel, also known as the River Lovat, is a tributary of the River Great Ouse. It rises in the Chiltern Hills & flows 20 miles north to join the Ouse at Newport Pagnell

9. Head under another bridge and follow the path for approx 1 mile as it follows the river…

You can take a quick detour over the wooden ‘Tinkers bridge’ to take a look at a lovely little church, St Thomas’s Simpson which dates back to the 13th century, before returning back onto our path towards Willen

10. At the small crossing stay on the hard pathway leaving the river temporarily, then take the fork to the right towards Ouzel Valley Park North

Cross over either one of the two wooden bridges and follow the river path to the right

Across the river you’ll see the Open University campus come into view

11. Head under the bridge & continue, passing through two gates & a grazing area, before coming to another fork in the path where we take a right & soon pass through two more gates…

When you reach the bridge, DO NOT cross it. Head through the next gate & bear to the right, following the river which should be to your right hand side

12. After passing through two more gates, we stumble upon something unexpected & rather special…

The remains of the medieval Manor House of Great Woolstone & the fish farm associated with it, dating back to the 14th Century. The small church and rectory are all that remain

13. Back on our way again, take a right through the next two gates, ignoring the bridge crossing and back on our route towards Willen

We pass paddocks with Horses, small playgrounds & many dog walkers out enjoying the walk

14. Head straight ahead past the stacks of felled trees to your left…

& continue on the path ignoring the bridge crossing, heading to the right as we finally reach the corner of Willen Lake East – 11k steps already & we’re only halfway!

 

15. Head to the right and admire the stunning views across the lake. For those wanting to experience the whole of Willen Lake’s walkways, you can continue on this pathway round the north lakeside walk too (including the Chinese Peace Pagoda), but for this walk we’re taking a left over the bridge then back underneath the underpass…

…& along the side of the lake heading round towards the main buildings where we’ll take a break, grabbing a bite to eat or try one of the awesome hot chocolates from the cafe

Toilets are also available here

16. 11km so far – now for the journey back! Leaving the cafe building, head directly ahead past the Big Wheel and Splash ‘n’ Play water park…

…leaving towards Newlands under the bridge on the pathway towards Campbell Park

Castles flank our way & a Dragon guards the scene as we pass Gullivers Land to our right

17. Upon reaching the steps, take the left fork and join the path adjacent to the canal…

We loved the tree line on this little section which would be even better in spring/summer

18. Continue towards Campbell Marina and up onto the metal bridge…

…taking the left fork back to continue along the canal path

19. We now follow the route of the canal for approx 3.5miles, mainly on hard pathway with a bit of canal tow path mixed in…

We come off the hard pathway and join the tow path at bridge no.87

Simple to follow, dotted with peaceful scenery, wildlife and picturesque bridges along the canal…

20. We leave the canal under bridge no.90C…

…bearing left towards the houses, heading down the hill towards the white thatched cottage & the picturesque Simpson village

21. Continue ahead past the village hall & see if you can spot something very strange up on the roof of one of the buildings

22. We leave Simpson, passing St Thomas Church…

…& take a left along the main road for 300yds…

..until just over the bridge on the opposite side when we rejoin Caldecotte Lake North car park where we left it earlier on

23. Take a left along the pathway as we begin the final section back around the lakes towards our finish

24. Cut across the track heading towards the bridge which we then cross over…

Then rejoin the lake pathway & continue to follow round

25. We soon come past some very expensive homes on the lake across a small wooden jetty & then back on the path

26. Nearly home! At the fork turn right…

Then our path passes under a wooden gazebo & over the bridge & then right towards Caldecotte Lake South

27. The path bends round, over another small wooden bridge…

…& then under the road bridge, before the final few steps bring us back to the end of our journey. 12 miles & 25,000 steps, well done!

Thanks guys!

Go Walk!