The Parks Trust, the self-financing charity that looks after more than 6,000 acres of parkland in Milton Keynes, officially marks its 30th birthday this Sunday 10th July.
At the same time, three members of the Trust’s original team will mark an impressive three decades of commitment to the charity - Rob Riekie, Landscape and Operations Director; Mark Colton, retiring Landscape Manager and Colin Savage, Landscape Officer. All three have been instrumental in shaping and nurturing MK landscapes and biodiversity over the years, and have contributed to the impressive growth of the city since their first days at the Trust in 1992.
Here are some of the highlights they’ve witnessed over their 30 years of service:
1992: The Parks Trust is created and given an endowment of £18.76 million plus leases over 1,875 hectares in MK. Brian Salter appointed as first Chief Executive.
1993: To promote history in MK’s parks, the Trust delivers an archaeological interpretation project - the first of many to come.
1994: Howe Park Wood is notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest by English Nature (now Natural England).
1995: The charity’s new HQ opens at Campbell Park Pavilion.
1996: The Trust wins a Royal Agricultural Society of England Silver Medal Certificate for MK’s woodlands and plantations.
1997: The Forestry Authority National Centre of Excellence Awards recognises The Parks Trust for creating the widest possible range of benefits and true multi-purpose forestry.
1998: The Trust hosts Milton Keynes Motocycle Club’s annual (very muddy) race day at Pineham.
1999: A survey of moths at Shenley Wood records some interesting and scarce specimens including Pale Pinion, Lead Coloured Drab, White Mark and Light Orange Underwing.
2000: The first-recorded lone Great Shearwater in Buckinghamshire is seen at Willen Lake, cementing its reputation as a prime spot for birdwatching.
2001: Local company, Hanson, is selected as partner to extract gravel at Old Wolverton, marking the start of development at today’s much-loved Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve.
2002: A boardwalk is built into the reedbed at Walton Lake enabling visitors to get close up to nature.
2003: David Foster joins as new Chief Executive.
2004: Northamptonshire Cricket Club chooses Campbell Park Pavilion to host their academy training, and they continue to train and play there today.
2005: The Women’s Walking Network goes from strength to strength with its best year on record.
2006: The first Parks Trust What’s on Guide is published to help more residents engage in the calendar of over 500 annual events and activities.
2007: The Trust’s farming enterprise moves in-house with the purchase of herds of cattle and sheep.
2008: A scheme to remodel Stonepit Field is completed which includes the creation of a beautiful new pond.
2009: The Trust takes on ownership of the Sustainable Urban Drainage Scheme at Westcroft which serves to prevent flooding whilst also creating valuable habitat.
2010: Artwork ‘Onwards And Upwards’ by Robert Koenig is commissioned to celebrate the retirement of the Trust’s then chairman, John Duggan.
2011: We publish our first Biodiversity Action Plan.
2012: In our 20th year, a permanent stage is opened at Campbell Park along with ‘Light Pyramid’, an iconic artwork by Liliane Lijn.
2013: The Milton Keynes Rose by designer Gordon Young is installed at Campbell Park to provide a place of reflection and commemoration.
2014: The British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-cross Series is held in Campbell Park, requiring the creation of a cyclo-cross course.
2015: The Trust opens a brand new visitor centre at Howe Park Wood.
2016: The stunning Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve opens to the public and becomes home to a herd of wild Konik ponies to support conservation management through grazing.
2017: HRH Prince William visits Campbell Park as part of the city’s 50th birthday celebrations. This year is topped off with the first Green Flag award.
2018: The Trust’s work is recognised in several awards schemes - MK Business Achievement, Horticulture Week and Outside The Classroom.
2019: Campbell Wharf Marina opens in May and by the end of the year is nearing full capacity.
2020: The jewel of MK’s city centre, Campbell Park, is awarded Grade II listed status.
2021: An ambitious planting scheme begins at Middleton Wood Meadow where thousands of native trees and shrubs will be planted alongside wildflower areas.
2022: Victoria Miles MBE joins as Chief Executive.
The 30th birthday of The Parks Trust is to be commemorated on 10th July 2022 with a tea party at The Milton Keynes Rose from 2-4.30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend the event and further details can be viewed here: https://www.theparkstrust.com/events/30th-birthday-party