The First Country Park

A Country Park is a public open space, often near to a town, providing opportunities for outdoor activities.

In 1968, Cheshire Council purchased a disused railway line on the western side of The Wirral.  This long and narrow strip of land, between Hooton and West Kirby, was officially opened as Wirral Country Park in 1973.

You can still see evidence of its previous use.

At Neston, a sandstone cutting provides plants with a shady and damp environment.

At Willaston, the station has been beautifully restored.

There are over 400 Country Parks in England, though only 31 have accredited status, which shows that they have met certain criteria.  Amongst other things they must be within 10 miles of a housing area, free to visit, have a natural or semi-natural landscape and have signposted routes and access to toilets.

Wirral Country Park can be reached by a vast number of people with the cities of Chester and Liverpool close by.

The railway has been turned into a walking trail, the 12 mile “Wirral Way”.  This also doubles as a cycle route and has a suitable surface for wheelchair users.  A rather more churned up and muddy horse riding track runs parallel.

The visitor centre at Thurstaston is open daily (except Christmas Day) and is staffed.  It provides more extensive facilities with toilets, picnic and barbeque areas, and access to the beach.

The end points (Hooton and West Kirby) are still linked by train, via the eastern side of the Wirral, so although the park is long and narrow you can walk right through and not have to retrace your steps.  You’ll be rewarded with extensive views across the River Dee into North Wales.

If you’ve signed up for worksheets, check your inbox for a map of Wirral Country Park.