Mum happened to be in Milton Keynes on business on the Friday before the bank holiday weekend, so she stayed overnight with me and we went for a walk on Saturday.

Following a suggestion from a friend at work, we decided to do a circular walk beginning from Wolverton, which is an old railway town in the north of Milton Keynes.


We took a bus to Wolverton, which is not the most salubrious area of the 'new city'. It was my first time to experience the delights of the Agora shopping centre, which is actually a large, untidy indoor market selling cheap plastic housewear.

The high street did have a Christian bookshop selling Traidcraft chocolate-coated raisins, though, so that was a win.

And somebody has obviously been taking good care of this Hovis ad.
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Wolverton's main feature is an enormous railway works, now derilect. The works were once the town's main employer. Nowadays the best jobs are on the checkouts in Netto.

Siding in works.
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We began by heading down to the canal (it's the Grand Union, from London to Birmingham).

Railway bridge over canal. This track leads into sidings within the works.
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Wolverton Works backing onto the canal. (It actually stretched for like a mile.)
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Eventually we left the town behind.

Interesting place storing pipes; the canal was wider here, indicating that this was an industrial site hundreds of years ago too.
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An iron aqueduct takes the canal over the River Ouse. For some reason aqueducts always impress me. It just doesn't seem natural that water runs so much higher than the surroundings.

While they were building the first aqueduct, which was of brick, a long flight of locks took the canal up and down the valley instead. Keeping these around turned out to be a smart move since the brick aqueduct collapsed soon after it was built. I guess somebody has decided the iron aqueduct is reliable, though, because the other canal branch has been filled in.

Boring shot of the aqueduct.
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Cattle tunnel under the canal, now forming part of the footpath beside the river. I had to bend down slightly to pass.
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Some parts of the locks from the alternative route remain, but not exactly in situ...
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The village of Cosgrove was next on our route and it really is a village. Proof: the post office has been closed. Hah.

Another tunnel. This one leads to the pub. I don't know whether that's the only reason it was built, but it's quite possible...
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Obsessive readers will remember that I took a picture just like this one in a completely different tunnel. But hey, I like it. (It's Mum, obviously.) Yes, it's blurred, but I hand-held it in pitch darkness so give me a break. Final disclaimer: I photoshopped something out. Ooh! Naughty me!
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Leaving Cosgrove we struck out across open countryside - well, okay, this is England, so there's no such thing. But we attempted to follow barely-marked footpaths across fields.

Isn't that an awesome tree?
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Three trees. (Yeah, this caption sucks. You should see my code comments: 'int getNumTrees() // Returns the number of trees'. No shit, Sherlock. I like this picture though.)
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Huge field of barley (we think). 'Nuff respect to the farmer for cutting the right-of-way so clearly.
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We crossed under the West Coast Main Line...

View from under the bridge.
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and then...

WHAT THE FUCK...?!?!?!

(Only I didn't say that, because mum was there. Whoops. Now I have to decide whether to tell her this URL...)

Morris Minor graveyard

Yes, really. A neat row of very dead Morris Minor cars.

Here they are. Pretty!
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Dead car, but great phone reception! (That's the base of an O2 mast.)
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Not exactly Jaguar, but still.
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The speedo goes up to 80! (But I doubt the car did.)
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Seriously, that's the weirdest thing I've ever come across on a walk like this, totally without expecting it. (Well, so maybe the skip lorry on top of a building equalled it, but I dunno.) What an awesome find.

The rest

There was actually quite a lot more but it couldn't compete with that high point and I'm not posting any more pictures. :) We reached another even smaller village, a church, sadly locked... walked beside the river for a bit and through a field of cattle (not all of them cows) without getting attacked, which was good... I climbed over a fence to look at a ruined church, but although fun it wasn't really all that special and the photos sucked... eventually we rejoined the canal and continued along it to reach our starting point and grab a train which took me back to Milton Keynes and Mum back to London.

I also discovered that I was really sunburnt. Yes my skin is pasty-white, but hello! It's MAY! What is up with the weather blah blah global warming blah blah.

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.