You’ve always been able to walk across the bridge, but in all the decades when the bridge was the major route south from Liverpool to the motorways I for one had never wanted to. But it’s all different now there’s a new bridge upriver from here and this has become a more local road. With much less traffic and its own, imaginary drum roll here, properly separated bike lane.
Walking up to the bridge felt like a very special thrill. A bit like the time we went down into the Mersey Tunnel a few years ago. Like secret intruders. Not that we were on our own up here. There were lots of cyclists in their new special lane and a good few other walkers too.
Noticeably young cyclists too, and really not much road traffic at all compared to how it always used to be. The noise of the constant road drone had been noticeably missing down in West Bank and would be in Runcorn too once we got there.
This being where the canal used to meet the port of Runcorn and enter the River Mersey. A port we found the remains of once we’d walked through Runcorn Town.
To explain, there is of course a whole Runcorn New Town close to here with its own centre, but this is the original place the new town was built around from 1964 onwards. This part much gutted by developers since, and of course suffering now like everywhere from imposed austerity. But walking down to the river from here we found where its dock used to be. All quiet and developed now as well, but with its ferries, shipbuilding and major locals bizarrely remembered nonetheless. By a blue plaque on the new development’s bin store
The were no benches so we settled for a river view sit on the edge of their ‘£100 penalty notice’ car park.
It was a hot afternoon so by now needing ice cream we found a good corner shop in the Waterloo streets, directly under the bridge we’d walked across. We also found these treasures, apparently in grave danger now.
Runcorn’s former Town Hall and its ‘gift of Andrew Carnegie’ library there. In a beautiful and peaceful, now the bridge is quieter, riverside neighbourhood. Surely the still here likes of these two could more than help with the revival of the whole place? ‘In perpetuity’ as all Carnegie’s gifts were intended to be?
Time to walk home.
We had a wonderful time. And will be back in West Bank soon. To walk to Spike Island for one thing, and for more exploring over in Runcorn too. Especially now we can walk there over the bridge.
See also West Bank Widnes and the Runcorn Bridges here.