Sefton Park
 

Google Wayne Rooney and you will find that the England and Manchester United footballer earns somewhere in the region of £13 million a year. As I write this Wayne is on the bench. I would sit on a bench for a lot less. I do not wish to deride Wayne Rooney for this state of affairs – at the top of his form one of the all-time greats – but would point out that in Wayne’s native Liverpool (as in Lancashire) many public amenities such as museums and art galleries are threatened with closure or indeed have shut. In parks such as Sefton Park which I visited a few weeks ago ranger services have been cut.  We can afford to invest billions of pounds in professional football but not our public spaces? It seems we have lost our sense of priorities.  

Start/Finish: Eros Statue near the café L17 1AP

 

Getting there by public transport.
St Michaels Train Station is 1 mile from the Park. Travel up Belgrave Road until you get to Aigburth Road. Cross the road to Lark Lane, follow Lark Lane to the End. By Bus: 75 from Lime Street to Ullet Road (bordering the park) every 10 mins, 80 from Lime St to Ullet Road every 15 mins, 80A Lime Street to Ullet Road every 15 mins.
Fact file:
Distance (Suggest route) 2 ½ miles 4k
Time: 2 - 3 hours
Grade: Easy
Map: I searched in vain for a downloadable map of the park itself. A Liverpool Street map would be suffice otherwise OS Explorer 275 Liverpool.
 

 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press

Directions.

The park is well signed so the reader is recommended to wander at will. This route is what I managed to do during a two hour visit taking in many of the park's most interesting features.
From the statue take the broad avenue to its right in the direction of the boating lake. Almost immediately a useful aid will be seen on the left - a map of the Sefton Park Running Route which will help orientate you.

 

With water gardens to your left keep ahead passing a fine Victorian Bandstand

 

to reach a junction. (The bandstand is reputed to have inspired the Beatles song and album title "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band") Stay right and soon the expanse of the boating lake will come in sight.

 

Alas no boats - we don't do boats anymore. Continue to the end of the lake and then take time to view the Gothic drinking fountain at this entrance to the park on Aigburgh Drive.

Returning to park pass the Lakeside Café to the right and further along the lake branch right on a wheelchair friendly slope in the direction of "Rathbone".

 

After joining a higher path bear right at the next junction towards "Upper Jordan/Fairy Glen". Who can resist a Fairy Glen?

 

This places you on the east side of the park. Turn left over a broad iron bridge

 

briefly exiting the park on Mossley Hill Drive. Turn left through the park gates and immediately left into rockery gardens.

 

Keep left on a narrow path to descend to the Fairy Glen below the bridge you have just crossed. Perhaps no fairies but a magical place all the same with a waterfall and naturalistic gardens creating a lovely haven in the great metropolis.

Following the path bearing right out of the dell the rear of the Palm House will be seen. Work your way to its right to reach the entrance.

 

This wonder is open virtually all year and must not be missed. Opened in 1896 in the style of Joseph Paxton's glasshouse/conservatory designs this is a majestic building.

 

We are lucky it has survived. In the 1980s it was in such a state of dereliction that it was closed. Fortunately through a well organised campaign and fundraising it underwent partial restoration in the 1990s and then attracted National Lottery money for a full restoration in 2001. Stocked with tropical and Mediterranean plants

 

it is a place that will delight anytime of the year.

 

From the Palm House join the avenue leading back to the starting point. (By bearing left here you are offered another view of the bandstand.) After passing the turn right on a broad drive leading up to the obelisk that marks the principal entrance to the park.

 

This is dedicated to Samuel Smith the liberal MP who represented Liverpool in the late 19th century.

Turn left outside the park entrance to follow a broad walkway alongside Aigburgth Drive.

 

I was reminded of Rotten Row in Hyde Park where upper class Londoners once rode their horses. Apparently this feature - a gallop - was nicknamed "Jockey Sands" by the locals. At the next entrance turn left for the café.

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