West Kirby, Wirral – 28th November 2021

Strenuous Leader : Carole                                                       Distance : 10.00 miles

Starting on the Wirral Way to Ashton Park, then over Caldy Hill and through Stapledon Woods to reach the Newton Grange Trail. On to Royden Park via Frankby Mere, then we cross Thurstaston Common. We descend to the coast via the Dungeon and return to West Kirby along the beach (if the tide allows) and/or the Wirral Way and then the Marine Lake.

Leisurely Leader: Pam                                                               Distance : 7-8.00 miles

This walk explores Thurstaston Common, Wirral Country Park and the West Kirby coast. It’s a varied walk with woodland trails, pretty heather, hill climbs and wonderful coastal scenery to enjoy. It will also be muddy underfoot.

Easy Leader : no one at present  

It’s not a bad place to find somewhere to walk.  It has a nice park, the entrance of which is not too far from where the coach parks up and there is the lovely walk along the shore and around the marine lake, and the beach if the tide is out.  Some photocopies of the O/S might be supplied to help you find your way round.   There are some steps up to the war memorial where you will be rewarded with some good views.  Apart from these steps there are no other steep climbs, just gentle ups and downs                                                                           

NOTES ON THE AREA

The Wirral Peninsula is situated between two major rivers, the Mersey and the Dee.  The estuary of the Mersey is narrow, barely a mile across, its banks lined with cranes and wharfs of Liverpool’s dockland whereas the estuary of the Dee is five miles wide.  It was important for navigation at one time but it kept on silting up and became unsuitable for larger modern ships unlike the narrow Mersey estuary.  It has now become a haven for wildlife.

West Kirby has developed from a small fishing village into a large residential town in little more than a hundred years.  The reasons are easy to see.  A mile climate, the town being protected from the biting easterly winds by low hills, a pleasant situation at the mouth of a beautiful estuary, and good communications to the nearby big towns.  Norse settlers landing in Wirral were quick to spot the advantages of the site and established a small community.  They built a church dedicated to St Bridget, a dedication still held today by the present church. 

Fort Perch Rock Battery, the red sandstone building at the mouth of the estuary, is the fort that never was!  A fort was meant to protect Liverpool during the Napoleonic Wars, and was built upon outcrops of sandstone known as Black rock, where smugglers used to lure ships aground.  But the fort was only ever used twice: at the beginning of the First World War, and again in the second World War when a fishing boat tried to enter the port through the wrong channel.  During the last War the fort was camouflaged as a tea garden with painted lawns and path and a TEAS sign across the roof.

New Brighton lighthouse now stands alongside the Fort.  Built in 1837 at the cost of £27,500, it is 90 ft high and built of Anglesey granite with the first 35 feet of its height consisting of solid rock to withstand the constant battering of the sea.

Today West Kirby has developed into a pleasant seaside resort with beaches, a promenade and a marine lake which is popular for water sports.  Across the bay is Hillbre Island which can be reached at low tide and is now mainly a nature reserve.

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