Milton Country Park, Cambridge

Mary Tweed
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It is so easy to whizz along the A14 at the Milton junction, just north of Cambridge, and fail to notice a stretch of trees to one side, behind which hides Milton Country Park. Nestled between Tescos, the industrial estate and the A14 lies a 95 acre belt of beautifully managed park land, containing no less than six lakes, a sensory garden, a children’s play area, a welcoming cafe serving delicious sandwiches and plenty of well maintained paths.

Today it is a popular destination that hosts many events from open water swimming, fishing, a weekly park run, cycling for children and even bird box making workshops. And now, Nordic Walking is to be added to that list, with walkers striding out on Thursdays to make the most of the stunning scenery and wildlife that the park has to offer.

This area was opened as a Country Park in 1993 after strenuous work to clear the brambles and undergrowth that had overtaken this piece of land. However, it is worth bearing in mind that this place has been a valuable resource throughout history, not simply for humans to enjoy at their leisure. A mammoth tooth and tusk were uncovered in the northern part of the park. Remains of Iron Age (800BC - 42 AD) pottery have been unearthed and this land was incorporated into an important Roman pottery industry (43AD - 409AD) that stretched along the River Cam from Milton to Horningsea and Waterbeach and which took advantage of the natural deposits of clay in the area. Archeological evidence includes Roman pottery, beads and knives. More recently, sand and gravel were removed on an industrial scale during the 1930s to the 1960s, to provide materials for buildings and roads. It was this large scale excavation that left deep pits in its wake that have subsequently filled up with water to form the beautiful set of small fishing lakes that we see today.

Next time you are enjoying the peaceful environment of the park, spare a thought for our ancestors (and the mammoths!) who worked to hard on the same spot.

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