Wildflowers and pirates: Our day on the Wirral

If you’ve been around here for a while you’ll recall the practical help offered by ‘The Wirral: A guide for Liverpool people.’ That provided useful instructions on how to get to a place where many Liverpool people have simply never been. And then some handy hints about what to do when you get there. View this as Part 2. More information about the delights of the Wirral. And further handy hints about what Liverpool people can get up to over there.

The imposing sea wall at Harrison Drive on the Wirral. Like a Mark Rothko painting.

The imposing sea wall at Harrison Drive on the Wirral. Like a Mark Rothko painting.

All of this guidance put together by us two Liverpool people in one day, yesterday. Sarah has a brief gap in her funeral work and I, as ever, am always keen on walking about rather than working.

Still getting there the same way. Through the 'new' tunnel on Scotland Road.

Still getting there the same way. Through the ‘new’ tunnel on Scotland Road.

But look out when you emerge at the other side.

We told you last time you'd have to pay. But now it's gone up!

We told you last time you’d have to pay. But now it’s gone up!

£1.70 it costs for a car. Yes, 34 shillings in the money we used when it was built. And you’ll have to pay it again to get home! Don’t worry though, we still think it’s worth it.

We’ll be having a good look around. Starting off with one of our favourite Wirral walks – ‘The Shining Shore.’ It starts at the Wirral Way Visitor Centre in Thurstaston, close to the beach.

We begin, as you might have expected, by walking away from the beach.

Along the long straight road to Thurstaston village.

Along the long straight road to Thurstaston village.

Only a month or so since we last came, but now the bare hedge is full of spring green growth.

Only a month or so since we last came, but now the bare hedge is full of spring green growth.

And wildflowers. Garlic mustard here.

And wildflowers. Garlic mustard here.

Leucojeum or Spring Snowflake.

Leucojeum or Spring Snowflake.

At Thurstaston village is St Bartholomew's picture perfect English church.

At Thurstaston village is St Bartholomew’s picture perfect English church.

In the churchyard: Alyssum or 'Garden escape' as Sarah calls it.

In the churchyard: Alyssum or ‘Garden escape’ as Sarah calls it.

Fumitory.

Fumitory.

Sarah holds some Ornamental pear.

Sarah holds some Ornamental pear.

Leaving the churchyard the lane uphill is bursting with spring life. Sarah quietly recites the names of the plants like an incantation:

‘Honesty, Pignut, Green alkanet’

‘Honesty, Pignut, Green alkanet’

Red dead nettle.

Red dead nettle.

Vinca, periwinkle.

Vinca, periwinkle.

Then up the hill, across a hedge we see it.

Our first glimpse today of the Shining Shore. The Dee Estuary and the coast of Wales.

Our first glimpse today of the Shining Shore. The Dee Estuary and the coast of Wales.

Higher still, the Blackthorn are in glorious white flower.

Higher still, the Blackthorn are in glorious white flower.

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Close up of the Blackthorn.

Close up of the Blackthorn.

New Sycamore leaves.

New Sycamore leaves.

Then down through the Dungeon, along the side of a woody ravine.

Then down through the Dungeon, along the side of a woody ravine.

Wood anemone.

Wood anemone.

Arriving at another sight of the Shining shore across lush spring meadows.

Arriving at another sight of the Shining Shore across lush spring meadows.

In one meadow this new arrival comes to see us.

In one meadow this new arrival comes to the fence to see us.

Tiny wildflower, a violet.

Tiny wildflower, a violet.

Then we reach the Shining Shore.

Intending to stop and have a cup of tea on this bench.

Intending to stop and have a cup of tea on this bench.

But though gloriously sunny, on this day there’s a cold wind whipping in off the Irish Sea.

So we walk on. Sarah flying through the wind.

So we walk on. Sarah flying through the wind.

Past the lovely boulder clay cliffs.

Past the lovely boulder clay cliffs.

Sadly much eroded by the storms and rains of the last few years.

Sadly much eroded by the storms and rains of the last few years.

Up off the beach, more violets.

Up off the beach, more violets.

And back to the Visitor Centre, first part of our day out done.

And back from the cliffs to the Visitor Centre, first part of our day out done.

Next we go a couple of miles north along the Dee coast, through Heswall to Parkgate. Where it’s still cold and windy, but not cold enough to stop us doing what we always do at Parkgate.

First of the year. The finest ice-cream in the world, from Nicholl's of Parkgate.

First of the year. The finest ice-cream in the world, from Nicholls of Parkgate.

And no they’re not paying us to say that. They’ve been going for 75 years and it’s a well researched, by us, fact. It’s the best ice-cream there is.

Next it’s back in the car and up to the top of the Wirral Peninsula, its western coast.

The wide and sandy beach of Harrison Drive.

The wide and sandy beach of Harrison Drive.

That’s Waterloo you can see over there, the other side of Liverpool Bay. You’re really not that far from home, Liverpool people.

The Harrison Drive sea wall again, plus me.

The Harrison Drive sea wall again, plus me.

Next stop is just along the coast from Harrison Drive, around the corner of the coast to New Brighton.

Fort Perch Rock. More a museum than a fort these days.

Fort Perch Rock. More a museum than a fort these days.

Looking along the northern coast of the Wirral. From New Brighton, to Seacombe, To Egremont, to Wallasey.

Looking along the northern coast of the Wirral. From New Brighton, to Seacombe, To Egremont, to Wallasey.

It’s calm here, sheltered from the wind we’d had round the far coast. And we sit down on the warm beach in the late afternoon sun.

And we look upstream at Liverpool and the Wirral, reaching out for each other across the Mersey.

And we look upstream at Liverpool and the Wirral, reaching out for each other across the Mersey.

They really are so close. No wonder that for me they both feel part of the place I call home.

Then we are set upon by pirates.

Pirates from the Black Pearl.

Pirates from the Black Pearl.

This is an astonishing piece of community art. Put together and re-put together by artists Frank Lund, Major Mace and local people every time it gets washed away.

Here's the story so far.

Here’s the story so far.

All the time we’re here the ship is jumping with delighted pirate children. The only tears we here are when one little girl is reluctantly dragged home for her tea.

‘It’s all right, we can come again tomorrow.’ ‘But it might not be here tomorrow!’

Well done, everyone involved.

Well done, everyone involved.

The Black Pearl. Real, living art. Of the people, by the people, for the people.

The Black Pearl. Real, living art. Of the people, by the people, for the people.

Last time it got washed away, much of it washed up on the  opposite shore of Waterloo, tangled up in Anthony Gormley’s Iron Men. Who kindly sent it all back.

And yes, Liverpool people, that’s home you can see behind the ship there.

The best views of Liverpool are from the Wirral.

The best views of Liverpool are from the Wirral.

The Catholic Cathedral here, appearing to sit on the shoulders of the Stanley Dock.

The Catholic Cathedral here, appearing to sit on the shoulders of the Stanley Dock.

The city centre, with its new towers.

The city centre, with its new towers.

And while we sit here, the Belfast Ferry arrives.

Ready to dock at Birkenhead.

Ready to dock at Birkenhead.

And there’s still so much to tell and show you of the docks and Birkenhead and the rest of the Wirral. So close to home and so beautiful. But with evening rolling on it’s nearly time to go home.

So it's farewell for now, from two happy Liverpool people, on the beach at New Brighton.

So it’s farewell for now, from two happy Liverpool people, on the beach at New Brighton.

We had chips before we left though!

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2 thoughts on “Wildflowers and pirates: Our day on the Wirral

  1. jbaird

    What a lovely tour that many Liverpool residents don’t even see. I especially like the periwinkle vinca (which we also have here in great abundance) and the impromptu pirate ship, which we don’t have here. What a treasure, and i dont mean the traditional idea of booty. Well done! x

    Reply

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