It feels good to get a bit of alliteration on the blog so a Wirral Way wander fits the bill! At the beginning of August, we headed down to my home village on the Wirral. We were there to enter and support the Willaston Horticultural Society Annual Show, which meant me entering some cakes.
With time to ourselves we like to take a Wirral Way wander to use the time wisely.
The Wirral Way
The Wirral Way is a long distance walking path that covers the whole of the Wirral Peninsular. It allows you to enjoy the best of the places while keeping, mostly, away from the roads. Perfect for a short or long stroll and many take you up to a country park or two as well. On a clear day there are amazing views over to Wales too.
As we didn’t have a great deal of time, we decided to do a walk that we take regularly. Only this time in the summer. It is our favourite winter walk, despite the lack of light and abundance of mud. Summer, however, offers a totally different experience. One that leaves you warm rather than frozen to the core.
Starting the day right
Of course no walk should be carried out without the proper fuel. So a trip to Water World for brunch was the first port of call. Water World has been about for years. It sells fish, water features and pet products and their addition of a very well priced cafe with perfect food makes it a favourite for any of my trips there. I’m a cheap date, but I love it!
And it was past 10 am so it was brunch, which obviously means we can have chips!
After brunch, we dropped off the car, printed out an OS map and headed out on our adventure. We had to do something to walk off the
chip breakfast brunch. To make quicker progress to the start of the route we decided to head over on the road rather than the footpath. It is not the most countryside of walks this one, being that you walk under the M53 and through housing estates, but you do get to a country park.
Onto the walk
Once you have finished gawping at the nice houses that you have to walk by, you get onto the Wirral Way via the kissing gate. And you must remember to kiss at the gate too. Anyway, this is a really quite route at the best of times and even on a gloriously sunny Saturday morning it was just as calm.
Considering we had been wandering down the side of a B road just minutes before, it always amazes me how you can just wander past some houses to open fields. I know it’s the countryside, but with so many industrial buildings around there you expect to walk through some of those before being greeted with greenery.
The pop of summer
No matter whether you are in the city or the countryside, there is always that extra pop of colour in the summer months. Be it through some urban wild flowers and nature or in the swathes of self seeded plants in fields and hedgerows. It is a great thing to live in a country that actually had seasons, even if they are a bit muddled up here and there, as we get to enjoy the changes in the colours of nature.
We got a spectacular show of flowers as we made our way through the fields to the motorway. Yes, I’m aware of how weird that sounds!
Under the M53
You know me and slightly dodgy looking places? Oh an highways and stuff too… well, walking underneath the motorway is fun! It is a short tunnel, but it has a eerie echo to it when you wander through. The graffiti is good for a giggle too. It takes you out into a 1930’s neighbourhood in Eastham. Somewhere that doesn’t look too dissimilar to where we live in Manchester.
Is it too early to be looking forward to wandering through here with our head torches on when it is past dark in winter?
After making our way through the housing area and trying to find the alleyway that we always lose, we headed into Eastham Village. Considering it is right next to a pretty busy road that comes from the motorway, it is surprisingly quiet. Quaint and interesting you wander through and I recommend taking a detour into the church yard.
The Old Yew
It’s not everyday you get to meet an old Yew, especially one that is thought to be 1,600 years old! Yes, you read that right! Although the exact age isn’t known, there have been many experts that have dated it to around that age. It is protected by some railings and you can see that parts have seen better days, but it is the proper definition of awesome.
I do enjoy a church yard from time to time. I find it so interesting being able to trace back to the start of the cemetery, the wealth and notoriety of the buried by the headstones and the plants that take over.
We slipped out of the yard through the gate on the other side. Placing us perfectly to continue our walk to Eastham Country Park. But not before a bit longer through the houses and past the industrial ship yards.
Views over the Mersey
Our lunch was accompanied by views over the Mersey and the song of the seagulls. The last time we sat at the bench we picnicked at, we had to hold onto my Zippo handwarmer to retain any form of feeling in our fingertips. Being able to sit without our coats was a warm welcome – literally.
It is funny how when you live somewhere like that you don’t spend so much time enjoying it. OK, so I was a teenager for the most part and we would hang out by The Tap with my biker friends and the off ‘suped up’ car with the shiny engine bits on display and music pumping. But we never really appreciated the lovely views, atmosphere and tranquility. My friend and I were more likely to be found on our mountain bikes leaping over tree trunks on other parts of the Wirral Way – perhaps even shooting each other with BB guns. Oh how things change.
It happened to be a bit of a swift lunch as we needed to get back to the show for the presentations and auction. Each year I like to buy some veg and flowers, to support the show and to grab myself some homegrown bargains to boot.
A quick reminisce over The Tap and we were on our way back to Willaston.
Picture the whole street lined with motorbikes, mopeds and scooters. Some zipping up and down the road doing wheelies and other tricks. It was like being part of an American film scene, vibrant and lively in the brightness of the bike and car headlamps. I do wonder sometimes whether they still gather there on a Sunday evening?
Back to the village
Passing through the houses and saying hello to every cat that crossed my path, we eventually got back to the tunnel. Glad that we had obviously avoided the ‘Dark side of Eastham’ we wandered back through into the greenery once again with traffic sounds whispering overhead.
It is unusual to be so close to a motorway, but to not have the loud sounds of it. Being below and surrounded by trees and fields the sound was as muffled as a soft wind.
Retracing our steps and following our map we came back to the path leading us back to the houses. The sun was high in the sky and everything looked so green beneath the blue sky. Even if we were walking in the shade of the trees.
Back at the show
We made it back to the show with plenty of time to spare. An expensive small lime and soda later we were feeling much more hydrated and ready to get our bidding on. Oh and I won second prize on both my Lemon Drizzle and Berry Muffins, so I was pleased with that.
The auction was a success too, we bought all the ingredients to make a mixed vegetable tart, some rhubarb for a chutney and some flowers to brighten our fireplace. The ‘salad fingers’ that you can see our of the side of Jit’s bag are parsnips which were roasted to accompany our nut roast on the Sunday too.
After helping to pack down the tables and displays it was time for us to walk back to my parents’ to collect the car and head home.
What set out to be a short walk turned into an impressive 11 miles. Not a huge walk by any means, but more than we thought for a three and a bit hour ramble. I am really looking forward to a Wirral Way wander in the winter again. Hopefully it will be less muddy than last year and I’ll manage not to rip my jeans on brambles…
I do really enjoy getting out and about in my home area and now I have my new OS map, I can plan some even better walks for our up-coming visit too.
Have you ever been on a Wirral Way wander? Which parts did you explore?
Do you have a favourite place near you that you enjoy walking?
Let me know in the comments below