HERITAGE takes centre stage this month as a programme of more than 150 events marks the annual Heritage Open Day initiative in Milton Keynes.
Key attractions opening their doors for free include Milton Keynes Museum, MK Gallery, Great Linford Manor Park, Westbury Arts Centre, Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre, The Stables Theatre and the Cowper & Newton Museum in Olney.
The event, which runs September 10-19, is organised by Milton Keynes Council and features a programme of guided walks, historical talks, cycle rides, workshops, craft events, open days, exhibitions and performances. Every one is free to attend.
Horrible Heritage Walks in Great Linford Park are part of this year’s Heritage Open Days programme.
Council deputy leader Cllr Robin Bradburn, cabinet member for culture, said: “Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, it is amazing that once again Heritage Open Days organisations have come together to provide a fantastic number and quality of events during September, on a variety of heritage and cultural themes.”
This year’s theme is Edible England and visitors will enjoy searching for edible plants on forgaing walks across Milton Keynes. Come to the Old School House in Wolverton to enjoy Foodie Forest School and Hedgehog High Tea, sample the famous Buckinghamshire Clanger at the Old Bath House, head over to MK Museum for the annual Beer Festival or tuck in to a cream tea as you listen to the sounds of Milton Keynes Brass.
Cllr Bradburn said: “This flagship heritage event really puts Milton Keynes on the map nationally and will provide exciting and safe activities that everyone can get involved with.”
Once again there are online activities as well as plenty of self-guided walks and trails to keep you busy. Full details are on the Living Archive website www.livingarchive.org.uk/events.
The Parks Trust have arranged a variety of events to help you explore Milton Keynes’ hidden history. Join the Gyosei Art Trail walk on September 11, a long walk along both sides of the Grand Union Canal from H3 Monks Way to H5 Portway and back again.
Find out why a Japanese school was built in Milton Keynes and discover the beautiful and unique art pieces along the Gyosei Art trail.
The Common and the Wood walk on September 15 is a chance to explore the long history of Linford Wood and the estates off Common Lane. Linford Wood has been woodland for at least 700 years and is now under the care of The Parks Trust. This brisk 2.3-mile circular walk will explore the rich history of the area and the surrounding estates and takes around two hours.
Join the Figure of 8 Walk on September 16 around the North & South Willen Lakes. This lengthy walk around the lakes and the surrounding villages will be informative and exciting as you discover the stories and history of the area.
The walk will include the village of Woolstone which is recorded in the Domesday Book. Then walk to Willen Lake South to look at some of the art pieces and their stories. There will also be the opportunity to visit St. Mary Magdalene Church as well as the Buddhists Temple and Peace Pagoda.
There is a tour of Milton Keynes Rose on September 19, a short walking tour of some of the pillars at the Milton Keynes Rose which demonstrate the wealth of heritage in the city, including the history of the hymn Amazing Grace which was written in Olney and the story of Albert French, a young man from Wolverton, who was killed in action in the First World War.
The highlight comes on September 18 – join The Parks Trust in celebrating the end of the National Lottery Heritage Funded restoration works at Great Linford Manor Park. The event runs from noon to 6pm and highlights include hands-on making activities with Milton Keynes Arts Centre and their team of artist leaders within the ceramic studio, art room and Open Garden spaces.
Explore St. Andrew’s medieval parish church, visit the Textile Project exhibition and discover the newly restored parkland and its history on a ‘Horrible Heritage’ guided walk (which needs to be pre-booked) with the Friends of Great Linford Manor Park as well as enjoying live music and talks from expert historians and performers throughout the afternoon.
Not only that, you can also take a look around the new community boat Electra and browse market stalls from local businesses and community groups.