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The West Kirby to Hooton railway line has been transformed into a linear park 20km long. Perfect for walking and observing the local flora and fauna. From time to time the park opens out beside the track, like here near the visitor centre at Thurstaston.
And who can this be? Surely not our very own sandysmith and her husband Dave???
Written Feb 25, 2003
Large, picture-postcard pretty commuter village right in the centre of Wirral. Another place where the Wirral sandstone can be seen juxtaposed with the Cheshire traditional style of black-and-white "magpie" half-timbering.
Written Oct 18, 2002
The porous red sandstone that most of the Wirral is built on doesn't support standing water for any great length of time. But here in the marshy, clay-lined centre of the peninsula, this peaceful lake has formed.
Written Oct 18, 2002
No train has run along the West Kirby to Hooton railway line since the 1950s. The tracks were taken up even before my memories of Wirral begin, and the trackbed now forms the core of the Wirral Country Park (qv). But this station has been perfectly preserved just as it might have been on a day in 1952. Except for that wretched CCTV camera that is!
Updated Oct 18, 2002
Address: Hadlow Road, Willaston
You will be hard-pressed to find an odder place than Parkgate. A major port in the 18th century, it has a quayside where you can just imagine a string of tall ships tied up, waiting to sail for Ireland. Kings set sail from here, usually with an army intent on knocking Ireland about.
Now the quay is still there, but beyond the wall there is just grass! In my childhood, it was said that the tide came in just twice a year. I doubt if it manages that often these days. When the port of Liverpool was being developed by dredging the Mersey, the Dee began to silt up. Some bright spark decided that it would be a good idea to fix the shifting sands by introducing from America the smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora). The grass just loved it! It took over, and now it's all marked as dry land on the map. The moral, one which we should remember in our own time, is "don't meddle with nature, the results may not be what you foresee!".
Still, Parkgate is a pretty place with it's white-painted buildings along the old quay. Horatio Nelson's mistress, Emma Hamilton, was born in the nearby village of Burton.
Written Oct 18, 2002
A sleepy and attractive village close to West Kirby. Its buildings show nicely the combination of Wirral pink sandstone and Cheshire magpie that so characterises the area. Caldy is home to some of the wealthiest people around, including players from Liverpool FC.
Written Oct 17, 2002
If you visit Parkgate you'll see signs outside several shops advertising "Parkgate ice cream". Parkgate has long been famous for its ice cream and indeed you can enjoy some very nice locally-made ice cream there just as Sandy, Dave and I did when we visited.
However, my childhood recollection is of the *real* famous Parkgate ice cream, made in small quantities and sold at the Boathouse café; yellow and creamy and gritty with ice crystals and utterly dreamy when bought for you on the annual Sunday School Treat. Alas, that was long ago...
Unique Suggestions: Buy an ice cream. It's really very good even if it isn't the original!
Fun Alternatives: The photo has nothing to do with ice cream. It's just an excuse for another picture of this extraordinary place.
Written Oct 24, 2002
Fondest memory: This is Greasby, where I spent my most formative years between the ages of 3 and 11. The picture shows a 19th century iron replica of the old stone hiring cross, where agricultural workers would offer themselves for seasonal labour at hiring fairs. With the Coach & Horses pub, in the background here, and a few old sandstone farm buildings now pressed into service as restaurants and wine bars, this is about all that remains of old Greasby. The rest is acres of 20th-century commuter estates. Even the overgrown field by the Arrowe Brook, where I played and caught sticklebacks as a child, has now been built on.
Ah well, they say you should never go back...
Updated Oct 21, 2002