Sarah’s got a bike now, for the first time in twenty years or so, and she’s having a great time changing her personal geography of Liverpool by going out exploring on it. Here’s her story about it, all along the Loop Line.

It started with excursions to The Mystery, just by where we live.

Which evolved into trips down to Otterspool, the river and back through the Dingle.

Sometimes through Festival Gardens.

And then I discovered the Loop Line.

Slipping away from traffic through magical openings into a new world. Not unlike the canal. Slipping into a parallel version of a familiar place.

Initially I’d set off from an access point near the start and end of the M62. Slipping from Rocky Lane into the secret world and heading south, to more familiar South Liverpool places – Well Lane, Halewood, and back home along Menlove Avenue.

Then I decided to go ‘the other way’. To the North.

And to my delight discovered the road North is a bryophyte haven! The old railway cuttings covered in the mosses and liverworts I’m currently studying. These detained me for several good whiles, and for a few trips I only got as far as West Derby.

Here’s Mill Lane where the former railway that the Loop Line is, also looks quite like a canal. So somewhere I feel perfectly at home, like I’m back on the much missed Leeds & Liverpool again.

Soon I went even further, arriving at the long admired bridge over Utting Avenue. Then turned round ’til next time.

Which was today, when I paused there to observe the frozen liverworts, now attractively covered in icicles, then carried on….

To discover spring arriving on here on the Loop Line, with Hazel catkins.

Cycling joyfully in today’s cold sunshine I passed over Walton Hall Avenue, along the industrial units of Long Lane, and arrived here. At the Loop Line’s temporary river!

This being the path just after I’d gone under Walton Vale. Flooded, so I turned back from the furthest I’ve been so far. Home in Wavertree to the Walton Vale, on my bike, pretty good.

Turning back under the A59, I left the Loop Line along Grace Street, emerging onto Walton Vale and hoping I might be able to cross the road and pick up the track again on the other side. But no, no access plus it’s completely flooded. So I carried on up to Warbreck Park and had my lunch there, while I planned a different route.

And decided to come home along Long Lane, which I always think of as a, well, long and very useful Liverpool road, for me as a car driver, and now that’s also true for me as a cyclist. Having noticed this footpath along the edge of the Jacob’s factory, I’m fairly sure it’ll bring me back to the Loop Line.

And it would have done, except the path is also flooded, and deeply, where it dips down under the Loop Line to get onto it. So I end up returning on Long Lane and through Hartley’s Village.

From where I am able to find my Loop Line route home again.

Passing over that flooded footpath from Jacob’s which I didn’t take. And this signpost to familiar places, from my new Loop Line perspective.

Over and over the occasional refrain, ‘Oh, is that where I am?!’

Over the East Lancs. Feeling safe up here from all those cars, me and my mosses.

Back along the icicle section.

Slowing down here to walk over the icy patches, and also have a look at the liverworts.

Then back along Childwall Road to home. Well done trusty bike. Three hours of adventuring in a new version of Liverpool, to me.

More from Sustrans about the Liverpool Loop Line and the National Cycle Network here. And more ‘Letters From Sarah’ too.

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