Wirral Way: A timeless place for recreation in natural beauty

The much-loved 12-mile Wirral Way, which opened to the public in 1973, is celebrating its 50th crowd-pleasing year.

Calday Grange Grammar School pupil, Adam Ravenscroft, is currently on a placement with Birkenhead News. He visited the Wirral Way to find out why people like it so much.

The story of the Wirral Way is a local classic. From serving as a key railway connecting West Kirby to Hooton, to becoming derelict and receiving a brand-new start at life. It has never failed to provide, and for that reason, many hold it close at heart.

One such visitor who agreed with this sentiment was a lady in her nineties, “I can remember when [there] was a steam train…”. She believed it was brilliant that the once derelict line was put to such great, public use, and further adored its handiness for “people using the bus and train.”

West Kirby’s railway station, frequent bus services, and the Concourse leisure centre car park are examples of the Wirral Way’s transport connections, all being a stones-throw away from one of the many entrances of the Wirral Way.

The lady further commented on how “the trees are [especially] lovely this year”, with her companion stating their like for the Wirral Way’s wildflowers.

Furthermore, my own visit had me hooked to Thurstaston’s Visitor Centre, with a plentiful amount of newborn moorhens to feed in its pond.

A passing group of scouts upon being asked, immediately concluded that their favourite aspect had to be the rich and teeming wildlife. The Wirral Way has plenty to offer for satisfying nature lovers, both young and old.

Visitors to the Wirral Way often agree that the impact on physical health is a vital reason behind it having a powerful appeal.

A dad, who grew up in a Heswall house backing onto the pathway said that he used it to practice running. He emphasised how it was especially great to practice in the mornings and evenings, when it was very quiet. He continued to cite that it can benefit mental health as well. Two Dog walkers shared this thought; “[It’s] Definitely good for mental health”.

A repeated point people love about the Wirral Way is its safety. Being separated from motor vehicle traffic, the vast majority were able to feel at ease during their trip. One such regular user was a cyclist in their sixties.

Dog walkers were also relieved for their pets, and it provides an opportunity that can’t be matched for those that may struggle to navigate the outdoors. It’s mainly level access also played a key role in the appeal of the Wirral Way.

It’s not just locals who admire the pathway. I spoke to two holiday makers from Surrey, who were on a small-scale tour of the UK.

They adored and used the Wirral Way to such a degree that they were able to memorise the location of its numerous benches, “Where else can you dangle your feet off the edge of a [train station] platform?”.

They claimed that the natural beauty of the north was unmatched in their home area, and one such location showing this was the Wirral Way. They also stated that they have felt glad to return several times.

The Wirral Way is a fantastic day out for anyone and everyone, with its appeal to nature enthusiasts, historians, trekkers, cyclists, and families.

It has some of the most stunning views of north Wales, provides plentiful access to niche tracks and beaches, and most of all; it costs nothing, but time. As one solo-walker put it perfectly, “It’s a gift.”

If you would like to celebrate its 50th anniversary, check out Wirral Council’s website for a timetable of events being hosted.

Images credit: Adam Ravenscroft

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