The Wirral Circular Trail
That which is familiar or easy come by is undervalued. I have walked from the Royal Botanical Gardens to the Circular Quays in Sydney Harbour past the Opera House and in sight of the famous bridge justly one of the most spectacular urban walks in the world. Yet I would assert it has an equal in the North West of England and you will not have to travel 10,559 miles to go there nor spend £716. I am referring of course to the promenade between New Brighton and Seacombe which as well as offering an agreeable and interesting stroll along one of the world’s great waterways gives a fantastic view across the river Mersey to Liverpool’s world heritage site waterfront.
Start: New Brighton Rail station CH45 2NY
Finish: Seacombe Ferry Terminal
Alternative finish: Hamilton Square Station
Distance: 3 miles 5k or 5 miles 8k with alternative finish
Time: Allow 2 hours (3 with alternative finish.
Map: OS Explorer 266 Wirral & Chester/Caer
Map by kind permission of Johnston Press
Directions: The walk described is based on the assumption that public transport will be used to assist the logistics of the walk. Merseyrail's service is an excellent network for getting about Liverpool and the Wirral. From New Brighton station turn left on Victoria Road. After passing St James Church on the right (which is also a local history information centre) turn left on Rowson Street which will take you down to the front. Opposite is the Marine Lake the far side of which gives a fine view of the Mersey Estuary, the elegant Rock Lighthouse
and Fort Perch Rock the 19th century fortification built to protect Liverpool.
Re-joining Marine Parade keep ahead with the river to the left entering a wide boulevard that is designated for pedestrians and cyclists as part of the Wirral Circular Trail.
On the right at 100 metre intervals are distance posts for Seacombe Ferry.
From here to the terminal building no further description is necessary.
Points of Interest
Tower Grounds. It may be hard for readers from Blackpool to digest but Britain once had a tower taller than Blackpool's. Completed in 1900 New Brighton's tower was 567ft high topping Blackpool's tower by 49ft. Like Blackpool's it was modelled on the Eiffel Tower and attracted half a million visitors a year. Regrettably neglect in the years of World War One made it unsafe and it had to be demolished.
Wallasey Town Hall.
This is a most striking building proudly facing the river in a style that might grace Renaissance Italy. It was completed during World War One and went into immediate service as a military hospital. It assumed its municipal functions in 1920.
Guinea Gap Baths. Tucked in close to the Town Hall are the Guinea Gap Baths - the oldest public baths on the Wirral. Guinea Gap so named because there was a physical break in the promenade and some guineas may have been found there was a popular place for swimming even before the establishment of the pool because it was free from dangerous currents. The high standards of coaching and swimming at Guinea baths led to over 200 national and international records being established there between 1908 and 1957.
Kingsway Tunnel memorial. On the towering air vent for the Kingsway Tunnel there is a memorial to the workmen who died in the construction of this second Mersey tunnel.
Seacombe Ferry Terminal and Spaceport. One of two sites on the Wirral where you can take the ferry across the Mersey - one of the areas main attractions made - immortal by Gerry and the Pacemakers 1965 hit.
Adjoining the terminal building is a more recent attraction - Spaceport takes you on a journey through space with its themed galleries and inter-active exhibits.
Extension to Woodside and Hamilton Square. For those wishing to conclude their walk there are buses from Seacombe to help you link into the public transport network. For those still wishing to follow the trail the way to Hamilton Square is a little more intricate compared to what preceded it. Pass the main entrance of the terminal building and go through a passage that returns you to the waterfront. Follow the walkway as it turns into Alfred Dock. Note a sudden change in the cityscape as you arrive in a zone of commercial buildings and docklands. Cross the distinctive bascule bridge
and cross the roundabout. After 150yds turn left into Tower Wharf. Keep ahead at the next roundabout and continue to join at waterside path. This you past the end of Morpeth Dock and beneath the towering art deco air vent of Queensway Tunnel - built in 1934.
Soon after reach Woodside Ferry Terminal.
From here Hamilton Square is up the rise across Chester Street.
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