Our route starts at the corner of Anglesey Road and Greenbank Road in West Kirby, Wirral, where a very small free car park services residents and the sports club. Beyond the car park is the entrance to a public footpath.
This public footpath is regularly used by walkers, cyclists and skaters. It is designed in two lanes, one for the walkers, the other for anyone on manual wheels. Cars cannot get down here. The path runs beside the railway line which goes from West Kirby station into Birkenhead. A high fence keeps everyone off the rails, but there are two crossings which should be used responsibly as people have been killed there.
Map of West Kirby and Hoylake, Wirral.
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Welcome to Wirral
The Wirral peninsula, on the west coast of England, is justifiably famous for its country and coastal walks.
Prior to the arrival of Normans, Wirral was considered to be a part of Wales. There were settlements of Irish and Welsh Celts, and Danish Vikings. This fusion of culture is seen nowhere else in Britain apart from Northumberland.
Many of the place names on Wirral derive from this colourful history. Reenactments and demonstrations of Wirral Viking society are staged by Wirhalh Skip-Felag, an enthusiastic group who are dedicated to maintaining authenticity in their presentations.
Property on Wirral is in high demand due to the area's convenient location for access to Chester, North Wales, Liverpool and Manchester. It offers the benefits of a semi-rural, coastal environment with ease-of-reach for city life and business.
House prices can be steep. Caldy, Heswall and West Kirby are among the most expensive areas in Cheshire and Merseyside.
For the small business investor or sole traders, there are several busy market towns well worth looking into. Upton, Neston and Birkenhead especially have well-established shopping areas which regularly attract the crowds.
Hoylake Municipal Golf Course
Opposite the train tracks lies Hoylake Municipal Golf Course, an extensive site which attracts both locals international visitors with a lively program of golfing competitions.
Golf has been played here since 1898, when the Grosvenor Grange Ladies Golf Club first formed as an off-shoot of the nearby Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Around thirty years later, the parish council purchased the land and extended the thirteen-hole course to an eighteen-hole course, and the Hoylake club was then formed.
Today's club offers an extensive program of golfing competitions throughout the year. It also has a clubhouse for members' and visitors' use.
To contact Hoylake Municipal Golf Course, use the link at the end of this article.
The train track sidings and the edges of the golf course are home to a broad range of wildlife, such as the bird of prey photographed here. They'll only live where there are plenty of mice, voles, shrews, weasels, rabbits and other smaller birds.
If you're lucky, you might spot buzzards. In recent years these have begun to return to Wirral. More common sights are herons, who are attracted to the area's marshy pools where frogs and toads, even the rare Natterjack toad, breed freely here.
Yellow Welsh poppies and gone-wild clematis and honeysuckle fill the train sidings during summer months. Various trees also grow well here; birch and willow, oak and horse chestnut are common sights.
Hoylake is the second oldest seaside resort in Britain. The oldest is Westward Ho! in Devon. Hoylake still retains much of its original historical charm in its architecture and atmosphere, though it also offers a lively nightlife and several quality restaurants.
The public footpath will bring you to Hoylake train station. As you exit the path you will see the bridge arching over the tracks, just beyond the large car park.
Walk over the train tracks at the public crossing only when the barriers are raised, (or use the bridge.) You will see a roundabout displaying a large sculpture depicting flying seagulls. To the right of this is Market Street, where there are cafes, antiques shops, an auction house, other independent high street shops and also Hoylake Library.
At the roundabout, turn left onto Meols Drive.
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Royal Liverpool Golf Club
As you walk along Meols Drive you will see unusual and character-rich architecture ranging from Georgian to Victorian Gothic to contemporary. Many of these properties fall into the one-million-plus (Pounds Sterling) bracket. Many of these houses directly overlook the Royal Liverpool Golf Course, which stretches along much of the length of Meols Drive.
Built on a racecourse belonging to the Liverpool Hunt Club, the golf course was commissioned in 1869. The original course was extended in 1871 when it was given Royal designation thanks to the patronage of His Royal Highness The Duke of Connaught.
The Hoylake links are among the toughest and most demanding tests of golfing skills in Britain, partly due to their close proximity to the sea. Winds racing across the Dee Estuary can play havoc with a golfers aim!
The club offers an extensive program of competitions, including the Open which attracts international competitors and thousands of spectators.
You can continue along Meols Drive to arrive in West Kirby, or you may wish to turn into Graham Road which is a slightly shorter route which cuts out a curve on Meols Drive.
Graham Road will bring you back onto Meols Drive. Cross over to Lingdale Road and walk towards the beach which is reached by the short, steep passage shown in the photograph below.
West Kirby Beach
As you walk out of the passage at the end of Lingdale Road, the glorious expanse of West Kirby beach will stretch as far as you can see. To your far right are sand dunes, over which snakes a boardwalk passing over reed ponds where you'll see many species of shorebirds plus sand lizards and Natterjack toads. Keep walking, and you'll arrive at Red Rocks at Hoylake. (See links below for further information.)
Directly before you are the three islands, Little Eye, Middle Eye and Hilbre. Information about tide times and the safe walking route out to the islands can be found on the information board by the ramp leading to the promenade. Public toilets can be located in the adjacent building.
To your left you will see West Kirby Marina, popular for windsurfing, yachting and kayaking despite the heavy presence of weaver fish, whose spines are poisonous. West Kirby Sailing Club also has its home here.
Leaving the beach, walk along Dee Lane past Sandlea Park, and you will pass Morrisons supermarket and then come into West Kirby village itself. Most of the shops stretch down Banks Road, but others can be found in and around The Crescent.
West Kirby train station will be in clear view as you leave Dee Lane and go onto Grange Road. Next to the station is The Concourse, which houses West Kirby Library, a medical centre, a sports centre and a One Stop Shop. As you walk in front of this concrete building you will see the public swimming pool.
Follow the narrow path in front of The Concourse. The Wirral Way can be accessed across the road, and via this Ashton Park. Or if you continue up Black Horse Hill, you will soon arrive at The White Lion, a lovely old-world pub where you can get a good meal in a friendly, easy-going atmosphere.
However, our route takes us left onto Orrysdale Road which leads onto Anglesey Road, and back to where this circular route began on the corner of Anglesey Road Greenbank Road.
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- Wirral Walks - Sandlea Park
Tucked away between Grange Road/Meols Drive and Dee Lane in West Kirby is a small but picturesque oasis of trees, shrubs and formal gardens.
- West Kirby Dunes Walk
Almost hidden amongst tall grass are the steps leading up to the walk over the summit of West Kirby's sand dunes.
- Hilbre Island
Hilbre Island sits in the mouth of the Dee Estuary, facing the Irish Sea. Cut off from the mainland twice each day, it is one of Wirral's true beauty spots.
© 2010 Adele Cosgrove-Bray
tom cookson on July 24, 2013:
photo depicting Black Horse and White Lion pub. Pub is correct but road is, of course, main road in West Kirby looking towards Grange Hill. Black horse is at the top of Grange Hill on the left.
Adele Cosgrove-Bray (author) from Wirral, Cheshire, England. on August 25, 2010:
West Kirby regularly wins Blue Flag awards for having one of Europe's cleanest beaches. The tide goes out a long way but it comes in again swiftly, the bay being flat and wide.
Thanks for dropping by.
Train Track on August 25, 2010:
Great shot of the bird of prey, especially as it is just sitting in the tree not too far away from you. West Kirby beach looks fantastic, it always amazes me how far the tide retreats in some parts of the UK.
Adele Cosgrove-Bray (author) from Wirral, Cheshire, England. on March 20, 2010:
Ah-ha, a visitor from Riverside Writers! I'm glad you enjoyed the photos, Joanna.
Mrs Joanna McIlhatton on March 20, 2010:
Lovely photographs. They show West Kirby etc at its best.