The Gyosei Art Trail

20190125_104609Thanks for joining me on my first post for my new blog on my new adventures in my new town! The quote below was part of ‘the template’ but I thought I’d leave it in as it seemed apt in this case since, on this occasion, I enjoyed the very good company of Nicky from Community Action: MK, and our morning’s walk zipped by in the blink of an eye. Oh dear, eye-blinking – here, I go again – I’ve become obsessed with all things eye because I’ve been nursing a stye all week and it’s not very nice!


Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. โ€” Izaak Walton

Anyway, the Gyosei Art Trail – that’s a find. I love walking along the Grand Union Canal but, let’s face it, it is somewhat…er…linear, so sometimes it’s good to have a purpose, and this walk is like a treasure hunt with a Japanese twist. Eight pieces of public, outdoor art scattered along both sides of the canal at a spot nestled between H3 and H5 horizontally and V9 and V10 vertically.

Great Linford Parish Council have produced a leaflet which is informative about the artists and the works, for sure, but doesn’t really tell you anything practical like Where on earth is it? Is there parking? How long does it take? Who’s it suitable for?ย  or even the burning question in my mind Why was the absolutely huge school for children of Japanese ex-pats in Europe sited in Milton Keynes and why did it close?

There’s also a mistake in it. Numbers 5 and 6 – Rob and Ptolemy – correct on the map, wrong way round on the blurb. Rob’s the frog (number 6) and Ptolemy’s the dragonfly (number 5). Here they are enjoying some warm winter rays in all their splendid splendour…


But back to those burning questions (answers in the order posed above):

  1. We joined it off Japonica Lane, just to the west of the park round Willen Lake, kind of level with the Peace Pagoda
  2. Not specifically but you could park at the Peace Pagoda car park or even the Tree Cathedral, which is not far; we parked at Camphill Cafe – I think that would be cheeky if you weren’t going to make use of their facilities before or after your walk but we had lunch there afterwards and it was fab! (And they do take-away cake too, which was excellent news for my family later on). I encourage you to support them – it’s part of a residential place for adults with learning disabilities – there’s the cafe, a craft shop and deli and a theatre in which the residents also work. It was good. Go.
  3. Er…we took two hours. That was ridiculous – it’s not really very far – but we were chatting and taking photos and discussing the art (get us!) and correcting the leaflet, and we struggled to find a couple of the pieces (number 7 – very hard to see in winter, probably impossible in summer; number 8 – it’s not actually beside the canal – you have to go into Gyosei Gardens, parallel with the canal, to find it). If you were walking in a not-too-distracted fashion and remembered our very helpful tips to find 7 and 8, it would probably take an hour to an hour and half.
  4. Pretty much anyone – it’s a canal, it’s flat! And the towpath is tarmacked and well-maintained, so good for feet or wheels. Children will like it – some of the art is quite touchy-feely, and there’s a playpark en route.
  5. Ah Wikipedia

Final word, I didn’t cycle there this time because I thought it was colder than it was, and I have a problem with Dementor-like chill in my hands when winter cycling. However, it would be well-served by the redways and you could either cycle along the route between pieces or push your bike or chain it up somewhere.

Hope you enjoy it! More pictures in the Gallery.