Okay, not quite Stony Stratford. We started from the car park at Ouse Valley Park which isn’t really in Stony but it is only a hole, skip and a jump away. This one is a much shorter walk than I had hoped for but it is what happened. I chose the starting point and Alan decided whether we walked from there for the most part.
The nearest town to Ouse Valley Park is Stony Stratford. It is a lovely medieval (at least) town on the edge of Milton Keynes. I spotted the park after shopping in the town. Let me drop a shopping recommendation or two here as without them I wouldn’t have come across this park to start this walk. Thank you to On the High Street and My Refill Market for wonderful service and great products. If you have a bit of extra time do pop into town for a coffee and some sustainable shopping.
From the Ouse Valley Park carpark you need to turn left onto the road you came in on and walk toward the large converted mill at the far end of the road. Just before entering the mill property you will find a crossroads of footpaths but you will walk on to the wooden bridge over the river. This is the part of the Iron Trunk Aquaduct path. Once over the bridge follow the footpath diagonally to the right across the field to a stile.
Over the stile and continue on the path until you reach the end of a fence at a tree (see pictures above) staying on the visible path. You will find another stile next to a gate. Just over the stile and you will find a path going right around the perimeter of the field toward the canal. Just before reaching the end of the path near the canal you will see a little path through the tree up to the canal.
Walk clockwise around the water up to a path that allows you to cross the lock gates to the other side of the canal. Immediately after the lock gates turn left and follow the towpath down to the stone bridge.
At the bridge we walked up to the road above and turned right into the village. We followed the signs for the Cosgrove camping and marina. This took us down into the village and turning left before turning right into the facilities mentioned.
You will see signs for the Grafton Way Footpath. Follow the dirt road to the right toward the marina carpark. From the carpark climb the stairs back to the towpath and turn left toward the Iron Trunk Aquaduct. You will recognise the canal marina where you crossed the lock gates. Follow this path and cross the Aquaduct before turning left and going under it to join the river path.
You will find a tunnel under the Aquaduct. It is low and you will likely need to duck. I am 5ft 5in (167cm) tall and I couldn’t stand upright completely in the tunnel. It is also dark. I loved it and hated it at the same time as it just felt creepy.
Stay on the river path all the way back to the Ouse Valley Park. You will see the first field you crossed on the other side of the river. When you come across a gate, continue through it and follow the path all the way back to the road leading to the mill at the beginning. Turn left and the carpark will be on your right.
This is a reasonably short walk of 3.19 miles or just over 5k. as there are stiles, lock gates, and a narrow tunnel this is not wheelchair or pushchair friendly. If you feel ok walking small children across the lock gates it is child friendly enough. Note that the aquaduct is high and might be a bit worrisome for those with height issues. I admit I held onto the railing and felt teary as I don’t like bridges much.
So if you fancy a shorter walk in the countryside and along the waterways this is a good choice. Also, good for those that love historic architecture (see aquaduct history in link above).