It was the final day of this wonderful Dee Estuary Walk. A walk around the whole of the Dee Estuary from Prestatyn, North Wales to Hoylake in the Wirral on the northern side. As you have seen on the previous pages the first 3 days were full of variety and amazing sights, this day was to be no different and spectacular with every step. It was also going to be the longest leg, so I had better get a move on 🙂
And a fine place to start the day was Parkgate. It was an early start so was strange to see the place void of the hustle and bustle of people buying ice-cream, walking the front or enjoying a fish and chips overlooking the marsh and Dee Estuary. A tremendous looking building greeted me at the beginning too. Old Mostyn House School (above), opened here in 1855 and only closed as a school in 2010.
Did I mention ice-cream? well anyone that has been to Parkgate will know about the ice-cream. Nicholl’s Ice-Cream is situated in Parkgate and has been serving here for over 80 years, since 1937. Damn it was too early for it to be open as I passed, but shall be back to sample what everybody tells me is a great ice-cream 🙂
Parkgate is a place that grew to great importance and thus a greater size in the 18th century. In Roman times the great port to sail from was of course Chester, but as we know this would be impossible now. Over the centuries the River Dee and the Estuary has silted up so the port had moved further out as time went by. In the 1700s, Parkgate thus became the main place to go for voyages to Ireland and beyond.
As I left Parkgate and headed North it didn’t take long to see much of why this area is well known in the bird watching community. All the way around this walk I was treated to great wildlife as well as views. Today was no different, straight away there was an Egret wandering through the marsh, looking for food.
The whole day was filled with the sound of wading birds, whether a lone single one or a mass of them enjoying the water and the sunshine. Most of the time they were there in plain sight. No need to go sneaking around getting photographs.
After a cloudy start the sun made an appearance and perfect timing it was. I had just hit the beach were the path now goes beside the Estuary. Views opened up, boats rocking on the ripples on the water. I could see the path ahead and looking across the water I could see the stretch of North Wales I had done only 2 days previously.
Carrying on up the beach, Thurstaston Beach, I could see ahead my spot for lunch, Wirral Country Park, Thurstaston. A place that is obviously a draw for families and people enjoying the fresh air. Wildlife lovers too! I took the opportunity to enjoy the stop over looking the Estuary from above the 60 ft cliffs, splendid indeed!
Now then, it wasn’t much further a walk until I came across another little gem. Shore Cottage Studio! A beautifully situated Creative Studio, right on the beach. What a place to gain inspiration. You can’t miss it when you head down onto the beach from the country park. It is the only building on the beach, a quaint looking cottage, with a huge fun deck chair outside 🙂
From here you can take part in courses on photography, textiles and more…. the view from it ain’t half bad either….
It was back onto the beach for the next couple of miles, fresh air and good walking up to West Kirby. I did tell you it was full of variety didn’t I?
West Kirby, suddenly the coast got a lot busier. Full of people enjoying the front and the West Kirby Marine Lake. A man made lake that was full of boats and surrounded by walkers and families. It is a haven for sail boats and catches the wind from the Irish Sea. Totally enclosed it is not affected by the tide, that can come and go a long long way in these parts. Plus as only 5 foot deep it is safe enough for all standards.
A very beautiful and special part of this coast awaited after West Kirby. Instead of looking further to Hoylake I was looking forward to walking the dunes of Red Rocks Marsh. Packed with reed beds and dunes in fact. There is so much more than what meets the eye here that instead of just brushing over it in a paragraph here I shall do a separate lone article for itself soon. Natural wonders and conservation, so much to say.
Yet another natural wonder came straight after the marsh. The Red Rocks themselves. Bright red sandy rocks that sit above the softer sand of the beach, weather worn and looking majestic in the sun. you could literally see the layers in the rock, the sands of time. This was a perfect place for a final pause before heading into the end of the walk.
It was here I turned right out of the mouth of the Dee Estuary, where it joins the Irish Sea, and onto the homeward stretch to Hoylake itself. at the top end of the Wirral Peninsular.
Hoylake is a place that will be well known to golfing fans. The second oldest golf club in England is here, The Royal Liverpool Golf Club, built in 1869. It was built on what was formerly the Royal Hotel Racecourse. The own originally grew around the small fishing village named hoose in the 19th Century.
As the town got closer the landmarks kept on coming. I could see the end point, the driftwood boat art installation named Grace. A pirate ship with a great view!
Phew! What a 4 days that was. many miles walked, many things experienced and seen, and absolutely wonderful people met along the way. My eyes had been opened. I must admit that this stretch of coast around the Dee Estuary had never crossed my mind in the past. Now i am hooked and shall be back again soon for more, absolutely!
If you want to view the other days on this walk, click the Dee Estuary Walk tag below.