The weather is a bit hit and miss at the moment to say the least! What’s new there though?!
This post isn’t about how people walk on the Wirral (we walk the same as people elsewhere as far as I know!) rather it’s about how last week my good chum and I had planned to go for a walk on The Wirral Way but rain stopped play. With no clear sign of an improvement this week, we just bit the bullet, decided to take our chances and just got on with it! So on Monday, suitably dressed for all weather occasions, walking boots, waterproofs and a backpack with not very much in it, off we trundled!
The Wirral Way is a 12 mile walking and cycling path that forms part of Wirral Country Park, which was Britain’s first officially designated country park when it was opened back in 1973 by Lord Leverhulme (he of the soap powder family fame). The path starts in West Kirby, ends in Hooton and runs along the old track bed of the former Birkenhead Railway route. The line, which was serviced by steam train closed in 1962 and lay unused until over 30 miles of track, railway sleepers and stations were removed to make way for the beautiful walking route we see today. The old station platforms at Thurstaston, the 1950’s style preserved station at Hadlow Road in Willaston and several bridges are all that remain to remind us of the paths former life.
My chum and I are quite enthusiastic walkers but having been out of action for some time we didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew and decided to get on the path at Neston and go as far as Heswall for a spot of lunch. Sensibly we left a car each at our start and finish points, which meant there was no long trudge back to the vehicles with tired legs and sore backs!
Along the way we encountered a lot’s families out for a cycle, dog walkers and ramblers all stopping to say a cheery good morning or shouting a thank you behind them as we moved to let them pass, it’s a very popular route it seems and the weather held out for us. For around 7 miles the path follows the River Dee so you get some wonderful views of the marshes, the river and the hills of North Wales beyond. We even just about spied Moel Famau and we’re pretty convinced that we saw a Kestrel heading out to swoop over one of the meadows. On this part of the route there are a few strategically placed benches that afford those wonderful views, a resting spot or a good point to stop for a sarnie and some refreshment. One thing I will point out though, is don’t start this walk needing the toilet! You will be walking quite a long time until you find one! The only toilet facilities are at Hadlow Road and Thurstaston and we weren’t going that far!! Oh dear!
We were not very well prepared and didn’t have a map of the route to find our exit point into Heswall, I think you can most likely find these up at the visitor centre in Thurstaston. Anyway, it didn’t really matter as the route we ended up taking when we came off the path took us up Well Lane, through Gayton and past some lovely mansion houses, including one that had the beautiful old gates from the now sadly demolished Birkenhead Woodside Train Station (before my time unfortunately, they say that the booking hall was something to behold!)
All in all it took us around 2 hours to reach our chosen lunch destination in Heswall town centre and I was proper pooped I tell thee! It was a lovely walk and heartily recommended, I can’t believe I’ve never actually done it before! We shall no doubt return to take on another portion of the path at some point over the summer.
For more information about Wirral Country Park, The Wirral Way and some Wirral walking routes check out the following;
Toodles for now!