Walks in the Wirral explore a beautiful peninsula bounded by the Rivers Mersey and Dee, featuring picturesque seaside villages, vibrant commons, historic towns and a marvellous coastline.
From day walks to longer expeditions, hikes in the Wirral come in all shapes and sizes. You can take on the challenge of following the Wirral Circular Trail, a 37-mile (60 km) loop around the peninsula, taking in the sea views, visiting the boulder-clay cliffs of Wirral Country Park and exploring the broadleaf woodland of Eastham Country Park. Or there are plenty of shorter ambles from the Wirral’s charming villages to superb viewpoints and objectives.
Nature lovers will be in their element. It’s a landscape that supports plenty of birdlife, including lapwings, skylarks, meadow pipits and terns, as well as birds of prey, such as peregrines and hen harriers. Meanwhile, the region’s country parks are inhabited by badgers, foxes and several species of butterfly.
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Wonderful walks in the west of the Wirral
Some of the finest hikes in the Wirral explore the western end of the peninsula. Thurstaston Common, jointly owned by the National Trust and the Metropolitan Borough, contains 250 acres (100 ha) of parkland, woodland, heath and sandstone outcrops and is a treat for bird enthusiasts, with breeders including sparrowhawks, Eurasian jays and woodpeckers. The Common reaches its peak at 298 feet (91 m) on Thurstaston Hill, which rewards with excellent views across the Dee Estuary and beyond to North Wales’ Clwydian Hills.
Just to the north of the Common is Royden Park, where scenic meadows and a secret walled garden await discovery. Caldy Hill is another popular objective that’s easily accessed from the town of West Kirby. This sandstone outcrop rewards with a gorgeous panorama.
Also from West Kirkby, at low tide, it’s possible to walk out to a trio of small islands, including Hilbre Island. The nature reserve here is home to an abundance of wildfowl and waders, while grey seals can be spotted on most days.
Exploring the Wirral’s historic east
Some of the best hiking routes in the Wirral explore the town of Birkenhead, which was extremely prosperous during the Industrial Revolution and is home to Britain’s first publicly funded park. Opened in 1847, Birkenhead Park’s influence on the Parks Movement was great, both at home and abroad.
Meanwhile, the town centre dates from the early 1800s and is a great place to explore. It is built around the historic Hamilton Square, which boasts more Grade-I listed buildings than any other place in Britain, apart from London’s Trafalgar Square. Both the park and the square can be combined on a walk to Bidston Windmill, which stands proud on a ridge above the town.
Further south is Eastham Country Park, a 100-acre (40 ha) area of broadleaf woodland with myriad trails and superb vantages for the Mersey and its birdlife. While to the north of Birkenhead is the town of Wallasey, where the North Wirral Coastal Park awaits with splendid sights like Leasowe Lighthouse.
Wirral going on a summer holiday
Coastal walks in the Wirral are marvellous all year round, though the warmer months are the most pleasant, particularly given the westerly winds that come in off the Irish Sea. A walk on the coast here can be bracing, so be sure to bring warm layers and waterproofs just in case.
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