Cruising between Stoke Bruerne and Linslade causes boats to pass through the City of Milton Keynes, which although classed as a “new town”, was created 50 years ago this year. The Grand Union Canal meanders between the locks at Cosgrove and Fenny Stratford, a distance of about 11 miles, through parkland and the original settlements of Simpson, Woughton, Peartree Bridge, Woolstone, Great Linford and Wolverton.
We are usually on this stretch of the Canal during spring and autumn, where the colours are stunning either with flowers or when the trees and hedges are changing colour.
There are places to visit on this stretch. Just a 10 minute walk from our mooring is the Peace Pagoda which was the first to be built in the Western World. It is situated within the grounds of Willen Lake North and was built by Monks and Nuns as a symbol of world brotherhood. This Pagoda was completed in September 1980, with an inauguration ceremony that was attended by religious leaders and peace activists from around the world.
At the rear of the Pagoda there are Cedar and Cherry trees that have been planted to commemorate the victims of war, while prayers and messages of hope decorate the nearby One World Tree.
By the side of the Pagoda is the distinctive Buddhist Temple where people are welcome inside or to visit the grounds with the Japanese and Zen gardens.
Another place worthy of a visit is the Milton Keynes Museum, about 30 minutes walk or short taxi ride from our mooring in Wolverton. Within the museum you will find various things including a halls of transport, print shop, toy room, traditional crafts, farming gallery and a street of shops to name a few. As you explore the museum you’ll notice that as little as possible is behind glass so that you can handle the exhibits if you would like to.
A firm favourite at Fenny Stratford is Bletchley Park, home of the WW2 Codebreakers. Our cruises through the area allow for a lengthy visit here.
Guests travelling this stretch continue to have their minds and impression changed of Milton Keynes. We often hear comments such as “Well, I didn’t realise MK was like that” or “The Peace Pagoda and Museum were really unexpected and a bonus” and “We’ve really had our minds changed about MK. You don’t see any roundabouts or concrete cows – and not that many houses or people”