West Kirby’s Marine Lake is a large artificial coastal lake, surrounded by water on three sides and large enough for various sailing events. Walking around the lake is a wonderful way to get that out-at-sea feeling without a boat and from land the walkers following the wall look like they are walking on water; it always makes me smile!
On a fine wintry day we set off from Hoylake on the end of the Wirral Peninsular. When the tide is out, look out towards the Irish Sea here and you are faced with a vast beach. At low tide a popular excursion is to walk out to the rocky Hilbre Island. The shore is lined with big houses, each one with a telescope in a picture window for bird watching. You might see dunlin, knot, bar-tailed godwit, red shank, grey plover or tiny sanderlings along this shore. On the day we visited the waves were breaking a long way from the shore and the birds were hard to make out, we may have seen knot or dunlin, it was difficult to be sure. More easy to recognise were the egrets and herons.
Walking around to the Dee Estuary we joined other walkers on the coastal path to West Kirby and its marvellous Marine Lake. After lunch in one of West Kirby’s many cafes we headed up to the impressive hilltop war memorial. This powerful monument was built in 1922 and is superbly crafted, with an obelisk and life-size bronze figures, ‘Humanity’ and ‘Soldier on Defence.’ West Kirby’s memorial is a poignant and dramatically set monument that is a fitting tribute to those who died in the First and Second World Wars. The views from the memorial are panoramic, taking in the north Wales coast and across to Liverpool with the Irish Sea at your feet. I think this must be a perfect spot to watch the sunset.
We found a path down from the memorial that eventually took us to the cycle route by the railway line and we followed this back to Hoylake. We walked between six and seven miles; your own distance will depend how much you wander over the sands. This isn’t a long hike but it is a perfect winter day out, fitting in well to the short days, with plenty of interesting things to see and loads of variety in changing weather and tides.