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We are leaving this site in place as an archive.
Environment comes from the French word ‘environ’ which means thereabouts, around or in the vicinity. It goes without saying that the quality of lives and livelihoods of people are deeply affected and influenced by what goes on around them. When considering environmental issues, there are undoubtedly close links with landscaping and sustainability, the natural environment and the managed environment, and the quality of people’s lives.
The Riverside and Conservation Area
Stony Stratford is set in a superb environment of beautiful open spaces that stretch either side of the River Great Ouse. This surrounds the Town from the West by the Millfield and along the northern border, leaving Stony as it weaves its way towards Bedford beside the Conservation Area. The Millfield has recreational facilities for young children and an area dedicated to wild flowers. The Ouse Valley Park is managed on the public’s behalf by the Milton Keynes Parks Trust, which has an active programme of volunteer participation in nature conservation activities.
Recently, a group of members of the Stony Riverside Group and Parks Trust, with the help of two teenagers working for the Duke of Edinburgh award, spent a pleasant day constructing a living willow screen which will enable people to watch kingfishers at close quarters without disturbing them.
A nearby staging, positioned just over the water, provides an excellent vantage point for watching dragonflies.
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and Milton Keynes Parks Trust is organizing a reptile survey in four areas across Milton Keynes, one of these being Stony Stratford. Inspections will take place in April and May. Pellham West and Mel Jones, from the Stony Stratford Friends of the Mill Field, have been actively involved in the project. They say that the most likely reptiles to be found in Stony Stratford are slow worms and grass snakes. There have been few sightings of these in the area in recent years even though the slow worm is a reptile associated with gardens.
In the latter part of March the group moved huge amounts of stone on to the island on the nature reserve to encourage the waders to return.
There are fantastic sporting opportunities for all age groups, from infants to mature folk. The Ancell Trust Sports Ground has excellent facilities for tennis, football, cricket, and bowls and croquet on the most beautifully manicured lawns, tended by volunteers who are enthusiastic participants in their chosen sport.
The town is well catered for junior schools and youth groups, so many young children can walk to school and their activities.
Stony in Bloom takes composting very seriously
Stony in Bloom volunteers have created so much material for composting that they decided they needed a bigger container to compost more effectively. Mary Sarre noticed some pallets outside a neighbour’s house, and the neighbour proved very willing to give them to Stony in Bloom to recycle as a series of compost receptacles. Stony in Bloom takes great care to teach the children in their gardening sessions of the vital importance of composting for sustainability. Here Mike Cooper and Mary Sarre are discussing the compost container that Mike has agreed to make out of the donated pallets.
Open Spaces for Recreation
Attractive spaces for play and relaxation can be found in Horsefair Green and the Recreational Park off Wolverton Road. The Friends of the Mill Field were responsible for gaining funds for the children’s play area on the Mill Field, and the Young Partnership voluntary group is working with Stony Stratford Town Council and the Primary School to gain funds to renovate another play area in Ousebank Way. There are two large allotment and leisure garden areas which are fully subscribed.
A Modern Town steeped in History
Stony Stratford has a long, well documented history, which is ever present in the centre of the Town. Stony Stratford was an important overnight stopping place as it is situated on Watling Street, the old Roman road from Dover to the North West, which was the route of the stage coaches in the 18th and 19th centuries and for motor cars right up until the time of the building of the M1. Many of the buildings of those horse-drawn times remain actively used for thriving modern day pursuits, shops and businesses in the High Street and the area around the Market Square. Stony in Bloom liaises closely with the Heritage Group, which is committed to preserving the history and heritage of the town and plays an active role in overseeing how sympathetically old and new developments can be blended.
The Community taking responsibility for the Environment
Since the beginning of 2008 the Stony in Bloom group has been actively involved in encouraging weeding and tidying of garden areas, litter-picking, and concern with general maintenance and cleanliness by galvanizing enthusiastic volunteers. Certainly the vigilance has paid off because there is a noticeable decline in the amount of litter that is thrown on the streets and into flower troughs. Through Stony in Bloom’s front garden and flower container competitions, held in the summer months, residents have been encouraged to take pride in the areas in front of their houses.
Stony Stratford residents taking pride in leaving Horsefair Green spotless after Folk on the Green 2011
One of the great traditions of Stony Stratford residents is that after the popular ‘Folk on the Green’ festival each year volunteers sweep up and make sure that every speck of rubbish is cleared from Horsefair Green, so the grass looks spick and span for the next morning.
A pleasant environment undoubtedly lifts the spirits of a community. Complimentary comments received from so many residents have been heartening. The support received by the Stony in Bloom group, both financial and through voluntary work, is testament to the appreciation of those living and/or working in a convivial and congenial environment. ‘Stony Stratford is a great place to live,’ they say.