Sunday, 21 November 2010


West Kirby → Parkgate

across-dee.png Distance: 8.08 miles
Ascent: 21 metres
Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes

The Dee
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I slipped out of the Greenbelt meeting just as it drew to a close and took a taxi to West Kirby hoping to sneak a bonus walk into the weekend. The driver promised me a very different Wirral to that which I saw on Friday. He was absolutely right. The West Wirral coast is far more natural, with grassy cliffs and outcrops of red sandstone fringing the salt marshes of the Dee Estuary.

This must be one of the all-time classic estuary walks. Although not marked as a path on the map I was able to walk almost the entire stretch on the beach. The one time I diverted inland was when a particularly boggy section led me to pause a while to consider the state of my shoes. It was there that I met Alan, and eighty-something year-old local and keen walker. "Come with me," he said as he gestured towards the Wirral Way, a recreational path that follows the route of a disused railway a few hundred metres inland.

Alan told me of how instead of marsh the estuary was a continuous expanse of sand when he moved to the area fifty plus years ago. It's hard to imagine, since the salt marsh seems so well established now with starlings gathering in murmurations as the afternoon drew on.

Alan and I shook hands and bade each other farewell at College Lane, where he headed home and I turned towards the coast once more. Between here and Parkgate there was no more mud. Indeed the path followed the top of an old sea wall that had the feeling of a tragically unused quayside. Suddenly the implications of the silting of the Dee became all too apparent. In another world the villages along the West Wirral coast would have hosted the ports and docks that line the Mersey.

Posted by pab at 17:11 | Comments will be back later in the year. Please email me instead!