North Milton Keynes villages


A few weekends ago, I decided to go out for a bike ride to the area north of MK, because I'd never been there before. The plan was to head to Olney then back along a circular route.

Newport Pagnell

Despite the stupid name, Newport Pagnell is actually an 'original' place rather than part of the new town. It is famous chiefly for its motorway service station.

M1 overpass, from a footpath that used to be a railway line to Newport Pagnell (it now has none).
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The other thing which is supposedly famous about Newport Pagnell (but which in fact nobody outside the area has ever heard of) is its iron bridge. I think this is it.
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And here it is again. (I didn't crop this picture, it's as framed in camera. Yes, it did take several tries.)
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I headed out of Newport Pagnell along minor roads towards a village called Sherington.

Along the way I encountered this most excellent... er... installation. It's something to do with gas.
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Sherington has lots of pretty, twee features, and this quality garage. I took this picture balancing on one of those annoying low wooden fences with the diamond-shaped profile, and discovered the virtue of using my bike saddle for support. Neat.
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Upper portion of small building by side of road. I just liked the wood textures.
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Sherington church, seen through its lych-gate.
1/350 at f8, 30mm, ISO100

Clifton Reynes

From Sherington I ended up having to take the main A-road for a short distance, which was a bit scary; I then arrived in another village called Emberton. Emberton has a large pointless tower in the middle of a road junction, and a church; I went to have a look at the church but they seemed to be mid-wedding, complete with actual horse and carriage waiting outside.

Consequently I crossed back over the main road onto a minor route towards a really tiny village called Clifton Reynes.

View from that road toward Olney Church, which has a very tall steeple.
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A pond and some gravel.
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A T-junction where you chose between heading into the village, or off toward another one. (It also had old-fashioned signs, which are pretty.)
1/350 at f9.5, 30mm, ISO200

The village itself didn't have terribly much of interest (or terribly much of anything at all, in fact). I continued downhill along a footpath toward bridges over the River Great Ouse.

A couple of tiny arched side-bridges allowed a stream through, but one was completely dry. Consequently I was unable to resist crawling under it. I think I rather surprised a couple of old people taking a walk when they saw me emerge. They'd been looking at my bike, which had apparently been left unattended; but I was actually only a metre away, downward.
1/125 at f2, 30mm, ISO200


My path led into Olney by the water-mill (which is very pretty, and which I haven't posted a photo of).

But here is some algae on a pool of the river downstream! Doesn't that make up for it.
1/180 at f9.5, 30mm, ISO200

Once you pass by the mill and into that end of the town, the church is right there.

It is big and pointy.
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Stained glass from outside.
1/125 at f8, 30mm, ISO200

The centre of Olney (which is a small town, or at least a very large village) is a little further on.

Cars for sale outside an ex-church hall.
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Blue gate, red Post Office van, photographer taking life in hands by stepping into middle of busy road during gaps in traffic to take several attempts at this picture. :)
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Awning over some establishment, a little the worse for wear.
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Weston Underwood

I headed back from Olney via a western route, which led me - appropriately - to a bizarre little village called Weston Underwood.

Clock House, which was actually the picture on the front of the O.S. map! That was totally unplanned, I was surprised to recognise it. They took the picture when it was rather sunnier and there wasn't a skip outside, though.
1/125 at f11, 30mm, ISO200

A long wall by the side of the road hid some large estate.

With a staff entrance...
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...neat bird statues around the gatepost of the main entrance...
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...and a semicircle of stone steps leading up to said entrance.
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The village had other unusual features, including huge stone gateposts either side of the road (but no gate). Almost everything there looked pretty old, including some buildings that had been converted into very expensive housing.

X marks the pavement.
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Dilapidated farm buildings.
1/180 at f6.7, 30mm, ISO200


There's a place-name on the map, but really not much of a village there at all. The only buildings of note were actually half a mile up a side-road/driveway, which led to 'Gayhurst House', some kind of stately home or other. It was marked private, but you could go into the church, which was quite distinctive.

The altar, complete with Ten Commandments and lots of candles. And fancy plastered ceiling, and ironwork. Whatever this place was, they weren't short of money.
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At the base of the altar table.
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Looking up.
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Little Linford to MK

After that it was back onto the 'main' road, then on a bridge across the motorway to Little Linford.

Part of Hall Farm.
1/350 at f8, 30mm, ISO200

The road onward led between some lakes (probably gravel pits); it would have crossed the motorway again and headed into Newport Pagnell but I took a footpath south instead, through woodland beside the last of the lakes.

In the woods.
1/90 at f1.4, 30mm, ISO200
Across the lake.
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A tree-trunk.
1/90 at f1.4, 30mm, ISO800

And that was it! I crossed Wolverton Road into Milton Keynes proper and joined the canal a little further on, cycling some way along that before I had to leave it for the rather dull redways beside the V11, and home.

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.