Two experiences of two friends suggested yesterday’s meanderings. First, when walking by the River Mersey with Greg the other week, I’d pointed at a bit of the Wirral coastline opposite and said ‘Where’s that?’ ‘Rock Ferry’ was the answer. I’d never been there.
Then our friend, beekeeper Andrew Hubbard, went there for a day out on sunny Bank Holiday Monday and told us about a wonderful pub. So the idea of us going there was in place. But as we set off we’d no thought that Rock Ferry would be included in this particular day. That’s not what we do. We meander.
First, we have a bit of work to do. Sarah’s been really busy with her Independent Funeral Celebrant work lately and we needed to go and test out some music for a service she’s running in the week.
Work quietly done we next go to our beloved Common Land to walk in peace.
Next, down to the Dee coast, where tradition is enthusiastically followed.
Too early to go home, Sarah with the map book directs us along unfamiliar lanes to the other side of the Peninsula. Eventually emerging from a housing estate, we find the River Mersey.
And though we’ve travelled so far, we are in fact very close to home, and can easily pick out places we’ve worked in and streets we regularly walk along.
We have arrived at New Ferry.
What we’ve come across is Rock Park. One of the first residential park developments in Britain. It was built between 1837 and 1850 as this side of the Mersey became the fashionable place for wealthy merchants to live.
But what looks at first like a gorgeously peaceful Victorian remnant is, we can’t help noticing, quite noisy. And that’s because of this:
It turns out that Rock Park has been split in two by this during the 1970s. Nine large houses and a lodge were demolished and a dual-carriageway road driven through the middle. Immediately afterwards Rock Park was then cynically declared a ‘Conservation Area.’ What a joke.
It stopped running its ferries to Liverpool in 1939 and was later owned by Cammel Laird’s Shipyard (Beautiful pictures of the decaying pier here).
We’ll walk along this later. But first, and wonderfully, we have to investigate the pub Andrew told us about. As it’s right here.As we go in the sun comes out and we enter a lovely light-filled place, where all is right with the world.
We begin a ‘what would you do with it’ discussion. But this soon peters out as we enjoy the evening and the peace of the place as it is right now.
And soon, too soon, it’s time to go home. But we’ll come back to Rock Ferry, and definitely to The Refreshment Rooms.
Back on our side of the river we stop to look back on the day’s adventure. And see New Ferry and the Esplanade, and Rock Park, Rock Ferry, the Refreshment Rooms, the Tranmere Oil Terminal and Cammell Laird’s Shipyard across the sunlit water. A lovely day’s meanderings and our mental landscape of home now much expanded.