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Head outdoors for the wonderful Walking Festival this May with The Parks Trust!

National Walking Day (today, 3rd April) is the perfect time to announce the annual Walking Festival returning to city parks in May, packed full of outdoor activities! Organised by The Parks Trust, the charity caring for the MK’s green spaces, this year’s four-day festival provides more variety than ever - from forest bathing to barefoot running. Here’s a round-up of special events to enjoy:

Introduction to Forest Bathing. Thursday 9 May, 1.30pm at Shenley Wood.

Connect with the natural world on a relaxing walk through the ancient woodland, engaging Forest Bathing techniques. Developed in 1980’s Japan, these have been found to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve memory and concentration - nature is a powerful healer! Booking essential, suitable for ages 12+.

Introduction to Singletrack with Trek. Thursday 9 May, 6pm at Campbell Park.

A great way to explore the city on Redways, bridle paths, and leisure routes – here’s a chance for cycling fans to have a go at singletrack ridingwith Trek Store MK. If you are interested in taking part but don't have a suitable bike, you may be able to borrow one from the store by contacting ahead of the event.

Plogging with MK Lakeside Runners. Thursday 9 May, 6.30pm at Campbell Park.

Plogging, put simply, is litter picking whilst out jogging. Combining Swedish verbs plocka upp (pick up) and jogga (jog) becomes plogga, hence plogging! Open to any adult wishing to join the MK Lakeside Runners for plogging, there’s no booking necessary and all equipment will be provided. The route will follow Campbell Park’s leisure routes and Redways at a gentle pace.

Introduction to Women’s Walking Group. Friday 10 May, 9.30am at Ouzel Valley Park.

An introduction to local initiative the Women's Walking Group, and their existing series of walks across Milton Keynes. The group meets every Friday morning to explore a different route, immersing in nature with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. No booking necessary, simply turn up and join the group for this enjoyable group walk.

Woodland Litter Pick. Friday 10 May, 10am at Howe Park Wood.

A great way to get outdoors and help your local environment, with all equipment for a safe litter collection provided (including special pickers for children). This 1-hour session is led by Parks Trust staff, who also take the rubbish away for disposal.

Discover Stony Stratford Nature Reserve. Friday 10 May, 2pm.

Be guided by a knowledgeable Parks Trust team member on this walk exploring the nature reserve, the river Ouse, and up to the Iron Trunk Aqueduct. Simply turn up, in appropriate attire and with a drink to stay hydrated, for a medium paced walk lasting over an hour.

Walk & Glide with ELECTRA. Saturday 11 & Sunday 12 May, various times & locations.

Get a totally different view of the city aboard the award-winning community boat, Electra, following a guided walk. Booking is essential for these limited Walk & Glide sessions on board the all-electric 12-seater trip boat run by volunteers in Milton Keynes - view locations and times online now.

The Big Parkwalk. Saturday 11 May, 9am.

Free and suitable for all ages, parkrun teams across the city are encouraging all participants to have a go at parkwalk! Parkrun have been inspiring people to take part in their events as a walker since 2022, it’s a great way to soak up the atmosphere and be active together as a family or friendship group.

Breeze Ride. Saturday 11 May, 10am at Ouzel Valley Park.

Breeze is the biggest programme ever to get more women into riding bikes for fun, and the Milton Keynes Network is a brilliant way to build fitness, friendships, skills and have fun! Breeze Rides welcome all adult women (16+), who like to ride their bikes at a gentle pace whilst seeing the sights and enjoying green spaces. It’s free to join but places must be booked.

Elfield Exploration Walk. Saturday 11 May, 11am at Elfield Nature Park.

A unique opportunity, for all ages, to take a guided walk of the Parks Trust's only closed park including an introduction to the features of the park such as honeybee hives and other amazing wildlife. Elfield Nature Park is usually closed to public to protect the biodiverse habitats.

Tales from the City Literary Walk. Saturday 11 May, 2pm at MK Gallery.

In collaboration with Milton Keynes Lit Fest, a literary walk around central Milton Keynes to hear funny, poignant, tender, euphoric, apocalyptic and downright crazy stories and poems selected from the very best of local writing.

Family Friendly Pilgrim’s Trail. Saturday 11 May, 2pm at North Loughton Valley Park.

A short, circular and family-friendly walk along part of the Pilgrims’ Trail route taking in sights such as the city’s famous Concrete Cows and Bancroft Roman Villa. Booking essential, suitable for all ages.

Introduction to Barefoot Running. Sunday 12 May, 7am at Campbell Park.

Local runner and MK Lakeside run leader, Christian, will give an overview of barefoot running and kit to use, tips and techniques to get started, and take you on an experiential walk, jog and run around Campbell Park. Free and for adults only.

Old School Nature Walk. Sunday 12 May, 10am at Ouse Valley Park.

A relaxed walk around the Ouse Valley Park spotting the plants, birds and animals found in this environment along the River Great Ouse and the Grand Union Canal. Booking essential, suitable for all ages.

A Geological Walk Through Great Linford Manor Park. Sunday 12 May, 10am.

Take a journey back to the Jurassic period and discover the history beneath our feet in Milton Keynes. Booking essential, open to all ages (but not suitable for younger children due to its length and in-depth subject matter).

Introduction to Nordic Walking. Sunday 12 May, 10am at Campbell Park.

Discover the amazing benefits of being active outdoors without putting too much pressure on your body. Booking essential, suitable for all ages capable of up to 90 minutes walking.

Literary Walk Around the World. Sunday 12 May, 2pm at Campbell Park.

Join Duncan Minshull at 2pm on May 12th for an enlightening stroll around Campbell Park and beyond, weaving in fascinating stories from his latest collection, Globetrotting: Writers Walk The World. Booking essential, suitable for all ages.

David Lewis, Recreation & Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at The Parks Trust says “We’re so excited to get residents out and about, benefitting from being active in the city’s great green spaces. We’re able to offer more variety than ever, on top of our usual year-round events, thanks to our Walking Festival partners. It’s more than just walking; this is the city’s festival of movement”.

Discover the full schedule and more information about each Walking Festival event here.

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