On Saturday, the Willaston Horticultural Annual Show was held in the village where I grew up. I enter all of the produce classes so we would be down on the Wirral bright and early so thought we’d take the opportunity to hit a bit of the Wirral Way while we waited to get back to the show.
Jit has never really done much of the Wirral Way as we’re usually just staying for a feeling visit or over night while getting the cats settled before a trip away and I’ve not really done that much since moving out 15 years ago – so it was all a new adventure for the both of us.
We started out on the Wirral Way route from Hadlow Station – there is free parking there, so a great place to start if you’re travelling in as the station is disused. You could always walk from Hooton Station though.
The Wirral Way from Willaston to Gayton
Brings back childhood memories of playing on the Wirral Way
It is funny spending time exploring where you used to adventure when you were younger because so many random and fun memories come flooding right back! Picture playing on the railway lines (friends getting caught for breaking the glass on the phone box and having to do community service with the Ranger – naming no names! Cycling around trying to beat personal best times and speeds and so much more that if I shared you would know too much about me…) I really enjoyed having the blasts from the past come back for a visit.
I have to say that when spend time on the Wirral (or in any countryside type location) I do start getting the feeling to move back – if only we had a gold mine to afford a house AND the commute to work!) But honestly, it is great to be able to live in and work in the city and still get to spaces like this in under an hour in the car. You can’t say that for all big city locations now, can you?
The great thing about the Wirral Way as a whole is that it has a really well laid path and is excellently signposted too. Of course, being coastal, there are some challenging bits where the greenery grows over the path above a small drop – I’ll share pics of that later.
Anyhoo. There is so much to see along the walk, that you will find something everyone enjoys including graffiti and street art. You share the path with horses, cyclists and other walkers and occasionally you might make a new friend like we did – isn’t this the most gorgeous friend to meet?
Passing through Neston to Parkgate
The Wirral Way snakes through fields, trees and over village roads to take you through Neston and into Parkgate where you get to walk along the front with the most stunning and clear view of Wales over the marshes. If you wanted to you could settle here for an ice cream at Nicholls (which has been here for 75 years!!), grab a drink in one of the many pubs, including the Red Lion where I had my first proper job while at college or grab some chips and watch the world go by from the wall. It is easy to lose track of time in Parkgate, I can tell you! Which is why we trooped through and headed back onto the Wirral Way route along the coast line…
Looking onto Wales
As you can see, the view is absolutely AMAZING, especially when you can get it on a really clear day like we managed.
With the sun pounding down on us, we decided to find the perfect spot to have a tea break. (If you follow the pathway behind the Boathouse, you will find that there are picnic benches, quiet areas of the marsh wall and even some car parking too – so definitely a good spot for a bit of rest.
After tea, we decided to head off again – we didn’t have a specific aim to our walk as we needed to be back in Willaston for the prize giving at 3pm, so we took to playing it by time rather than mileage and destination goals. This can often be the most fun way to explore routes as you can meander and cross lanes, check things our or even take a long time over a picnic or photographs. Feeling refreshed from the view and the tea, off we tootled again.
Back to wandering the Wirral Way
It is at this part of the walk around the Parkgate coastal line that the path gets a bit narrow over the drop to the marsh. If you don’t mind brushing the hedge, you can definitely find enough room for walking two at a time – although as soon as you do you’re likely to meet an oncoming wanderer!
The path eventually eases off back to a track and you have more than enough room to wander side by side and pass by other pathway users!
The walk passes by a golf course (which is always fun to watch and imagine shouting things at the players as they swing… or is that just us?), through more fields and past some lovely green spaces (although we didn’t do those this time) It makes me want to bring one of our borrow doggies next time to share the adventure.
With time against us and having to head back to the village we found the other side of the circular route around the golf course and started to make our way back to Parkgate. Besides, we were starting to get hungry and had a delicious packed lunch waiting to be devoured with a cup tea. It really is the small things that matter.
Although there are some benches along the route back to Parkgate along the Wirral Way route, overlooking the golf, we opted to head back into the village to enjoy the view.
One tip is that no matter the weather, take more water than you think you’ll need as well as your tea. On Saturday is turned out to be a scorching 23 degrees and we were certainly glad to be over-prepared with water and brews.
Heading back from Parkgate to Willaston
With around an hour left before we needed to be back at the show, we turned out journey back to heading towards Willaston by getting back on the Wirral Way where it popped us out, which also happens to be Sustrans Route 56.
The walk takes you back over the bridge in Neston, back through the gloriously green fields and back onto the track towards Hadlow Station. Remember to take your time to see things differently. I always love to do routes both forwards and backwards as it is inevitable that it will seem like a totally different place when you look from the other side!
I have to say that if you’re looking for a calm, easy and enjoyable walk then this one is certainly a great one to do. We very easily covered 12+ miles and barely felt a thing. The flat terrain is so easy to wander, to look around and to enjoy the journey. Even just being able to hear the birds sing and the bugs buzzing makes it a perfect escape for a while.
It is always a pleasure to walk down the Wirral Way towards the station as it just feels as though you’re heading back in time. (If you do have time, go and explore the station – sometimes the office is open for you to visit for free) If, like us, you’re needing to go you can either head back to the car or wander along Hadlow Road towards the Pollards Inn – this is where we finished our walk with a seat in the shade and an ice-cold pint of lime and soda!
Oh yeah and make sure you look round to spot the exciting bits that you probably wouldn’t see while zipping through in the car – like Ashtree Farm
And as for the show…
My sister, Claire, and I won some trophies! (mine was for the produce section, so jams, chutneys, cakes, muffins and brownies etc. of which I beat some of the seasoned winners who are well more versed in baking than I am!!!)
All in all, I would have to say that it was a fantastic day. Covering over 12 miles of the Wirral Way from Willaston to Gayton, enjoying the glorious sunshine and views, spending some time with the family AND winning a trophy – not bad at all! And now, I plan on more visits so that we can cover the rest and I can share them with you too. My aim is to create Urban Wanderer maps for your exploration pleasure so I’m excited to get a wriggle on – come rain or shine!!
What was your favourite bit from my adventure? How could you bring that into your next exploration walk? Share in the comments, I’d love to get to know you better!
Keep adventuring, discovering and playing!