The historic county of Buckinghamshire is predominantly rural, with relatively few medium sized towns, there are no large public parks on the scale of those created in UK cities during the nineteenth century, such as Birkenhead Park in Liverpool, and Victoria Park and Battersea in London. In total there are some 27,000 public parks of varying sizes in the UK. In 2020, we compiled a list and found we had more than twenty urban parks and five country parks (managed by Bucks Council) to consider. We carried out some initial research during the following year when the Covid pandemic was at its height, and this was used to promote the importance of green spaces in two special editions of our newsletter.
For much of the twentieth century public parks and open spaces have been neglected and under-valued often the first facility to face local authority financial cutbacks. It was not until funds became available through the Heritage Lottery Fund that a major programme of refurbishment started on public parks. However, this is an on-going situation and public parks need long term support and protection.
We are fortunate that, the city of Milton Keynes was designed with an emphasis on open spaces and linear parks these come under the jurisdiction of The Milton Keynes Parks Trust. Two of our volunteers, Gill Grocott and Jill Stansfield have been researching the MK sites since 2016. Some of the other sites in the county have now also been written up as full reports, more will hopefully be added later.