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Archive for the ‘Coasting2012’ Category

2000+ miles of coast

Well, that’s over 2000 miles of Britain’s coast line i have been lucky enough to walk. The image show nicely that this amounts to a little under a third of the total so will i ever complete it remains an open question.

Next years plans are already looking like some exciting excursions (some like the isle of wight with friends) but as i have found before life can get in the way.

I’m already aware of just how varied the British coast line is and the journey has taken me through/past so many places i would not have other wise seen, this is all great as every day is a mystery tour, what will appear trail side has been a list of surprises that stay in the memory, oh yes and some of the cold, wet or otherwise naff days were not a lot of fun but they are what make the good days great.

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cool and clear the sun got out nicely mid morning by mid afternoon it was turning black and colder. 16.8 miles.

A nice early start saw me at West kirby station around 8 o clock and the small cafe there provided a bacon sandwich and tea, then down to the sea front a walk alongside the marine lake and onto the coast proper, this only went a short way and the path gets on an old rail track bed which is a joy to walk and gives good views across the bay to Wales which is starting to look close. At Thurstaston the old station platforms remain and it is rather scenic.

The path continues like this for miles until i am nearing Neston where i can err seaward and find a foot path right on the shore, this is good and i pass a closed pub so no tea in Little Neston, never mind the sun is out and the path alongside the salt marshes is most enjoyable.

As i approach the danger area i see the red flag is up so no wandering across there, i’m unsure about a permissive path along it’s perimiter so take my alternative plan and follow a cycle route to Burton which is as pretty as expected, then a small road to Puddington which is nice and gets a star for the sign indicating the foot path i want to follow to Shotwick.

I’m afraid this quality didn’t last long and i was soon interpreting path with reference to small woods on map and proximity to overhead power cables, any way i made it to Shotwick and followed a track across the marsh to a roundabout on the A550, a cycle route goes under this and heads south west for a short while to turn onto another cycle route on an old railtrack bed to Hawarden Bridge where i join up with my Welsh coast path of earlier this year.

A very nice end to my week away, just dipped my toes into Wales by going to Shotton station and head home until next time.

A big thanks to the folks at Chester independent back packers hostel, who put up with my early exits and evening cooking, a easier going hostel i’m not sure one could find, if any one wishes to replicate this section of coast i recommend them and also add that Mersey rail fares are affordable.

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overcast, cool little breeze, 17.6 miles.
nice early start through the picture that is Port sunlight was a very pleasant indeed.
Then find small road north converging with the coast, i soon came upon a cafe in New ferry so the breakfast and tea , now im really set for the day.

 
Get around an oil terminal and lost time trying to find shoreline more often than is possible, anyway crossed the port on old bridge between east/west float and then really got on the shore walking along a fine sea wall.
I happened upon men fishing and stopped quite some time as they were chatty and catching a selection of fish rather speedily, the ace was when a cod was reeled in, eventually i had to thank them for the experience and get my legs moving.


I cruised on up the coast to perch rock the most northerly point of the wirral with a little fort and light house (plus tea shop).

 

 
Along the top of the wirral is nearly all sea wall cruising with a few people about and a nice selection of sea birds that didnt appear to bothered by my company.
After Hoylake a path goes to the western point of red rocks with a couple of small islands offshore, then south to West Kirby which was busy compared with the previous several miles.

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calm, cool, little breeze. 21.6 miles.
From Runcorn the actual shore seemed out of reach but i could get close on little roads round the docks where i also found a cafe for breakfast.
the minor roads continued until approaching Rocksavage power station where i ignored misinformation and found nice quiet foot path to Clifton, i took another down to the Manchester canal where the old rotating bridge is long gone so i back tracked and found a way under the motorway and round to an A road with bridge over river towards Frodsham.

 

I soon turned right under an impressive viaduct taking cycle way into the centre of Frodsham which was nice with an interesting pub sign.

 
Now take a cycle route over the motorway onto frodsham marsh which provided one and a half hours of rustic walking some of it a little flooded which i managed to go round, and rather a lot of signs warning the water contained blue green algae which may be dangerous, a small to Ince which had a pub that wasn’t open, one local garden had  a neat guy fawkes on display .
Short section of small roads brought me to the start of road through the huge Stanlow refinery signs say private road no stopping no photo’s , there didnt seem to be anything i would want to photograph and i walked through unchallenged getting to Elsmere port and enjoying a pot of tea at the waterways museum.

 

From here on its lots of minor roads avoiding the motorway and getting round a motor works and oil storage depot, the route went through some nice villages and it would appear i passed the official Wirral border,

 

with hot feet i reached Port sunlight which is a picture book of lovely old buildings, great end to a day.

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overcast, dry and little breeze. 17.1 miles.
just about perfect for hiking, early start on sea front beside the liver building where it was surprisingly quiet and nice view across to the Wirral which isn’t far away but i wont reach it today.

 
Really nice shore hugging out of town , lots of old docks gradually changing to park land all the way to Cressington.
Here i had to turn inland around a container port, my path passed a little cafe so a late breakfast was enjoyed.
Some road work toke me across town and into Garston where i could drift back river side and get between airport and the shore, this proved ok (map vital) starting by dropping down a muddy path which though unsigned proved to be correct.
The path passes under what looks like a pier but is a gantry of aircraft landing lights.
The path is serious mud i places as tide rises over it at times, i met a lady walking her dogs who knows the path well, i asked about where ahead the footpath on map suddenly stops and im advised that beyond is to steep to atempt (local knowledge is so useful).
Now proceed towards brook farm i crossed an area which was all rubble and not good walking, next  the shore became reed beds and wetter so i moved uphill onto a good path that took me to Hale head lighthouse the most southerly point of Lancashire, turn inland to Dale village which was very pretty and had a little shop for a juice break.

 
There now follows a short minor road (back on the trans pennine trail) and turn beside a water works back on the river bank passing through some woodland and hey presto first view of Widnes to Runcorn bridge.
Its an easy cycle route to the bridge and high over the mersey i cross to Runcorn. a good day of mixed terrain what could be better.

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overcast, cool little breeze. 22.5 miles
trains to Southport which initially felt chilly and rather quiet, the busy season was obviously a few weeks ago. Anyway found a cafe for breakfast roll and coffee then soon got warm hiking along some more coast line. Southport pier looks rather short and not over impressive, to the north i could actually pick out Blackpool,out to sea was an oil/gas rig and following the pennine trail was pleasant enough.


At Ainsdale a roundabout held a nice model plane celebrating that a first return atlantic crossing which  took off from this beach.

 

i spoke to a warden who assured me the sands could be walked from here so onto the beach i went, woo there are miles of sand way past Formby and i saw tens of thousands of of razor shells washed up in drifts on the shore.

 
Short of Hightown i came to a danger area and the flags were up so a wide diversion inland i had to make which worked out quite good once i reached the rail line as a footpath hugs this past the military area and got me over two streams.
After Hightown there was a couple of miles over sand dunes before leveling out on a path where some people informed me there was a tea van ahead (i enjoyed tea watching starlings enjoying dustbin contents).

 

Next it was out on the beach amongst some of the two hundred statues planted along Crosby beach.

 The statues are scattered from shore to well out to sea and as the tide comes in it would appear some are totally submerged, according to an information board the statues are modeled on the artists body and appear to be fitting for a nudist beach, people obviously like to modify the statues as i saw one had a wrist watch and another had a rubber ring around his neck.

The path continued fine to Waterloo marina and then the coast has to be left to go round container port and docks, passing a rather nicely painted modern building.

 

so it was traffic noise into Liverpool, as i approached the liver building i tried a photo in the gloom then spotted a more interesting church spire, as cars had lights on im not sure photos will be any good, anyway another good day.

 

 

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mostly blue sky and warm. 21.7 miles.

Not far from the station a chance for a cup of tea presented itself and i enjoyed it, the day was already heating up and i didn’t expect to see a cafe for some time onwards (and didn’t). so around the back of the creek for crossing point and the signage wasn’t to good but correctly found my way through industrial area and onto the bank of another muddy creek.

The tide appeared to be coming in at this point so today i should see more water giving a coastal feel to the jaunt. The trail followed the creek nicely for a couple of miles until i went under a new road bridge then signs disappeared (or were they hiding) and the obvious path on my map around the paper mill just wouldn’t reveal itself to me, after some dead ends i gave up and went west of this latest industrial area and through the village of Iwade which turned out to be very nice and very old according to the nice sign i spotted (1302 that is a long time ago).

Now head north east on small roads to Swale and the bridges that cross to the isle of sheppy, i turned left and now it’s embankment right on waters edge for many a mile and not a soul in sight, i stuck with the Saxon shore way across Chetney marshes and back south to Rasberry hill where the path goes a little inland by a minor road shadows the coast and i used that to Lower Halstow from where i had received a phone call saying a friend would be waiting at the pub to join me for a while, this was rather convenient as i had quite a thirst on arrival so a pot of tea was enjoyed then we set off again along the coast path passing a delightful little church and in the bay an old sailing barge had come in on the tide and had quite a group of admirers.

The path goes north onto spit of land to ham green, then across Horsham marsh passing Upchurch, across here it became more busy as we passed through a couple of horse riding establishments, then north again alongside Otterham creek near the sewage works and back down the other side, of course today we passed more abandoned boats sadly rotting slowly away.

Quite a picture in the dancing sunlight.

The path did take us through/alongside a number of orchards and one notable aspect was the number of pears that had fallen from trees before ripening (must be the weather this year), another surprise was coming upon an ice cream van by one of these orchards, now i don’t eat ice cream but the sun made today an exception, and i can say what a pleasant surprise we both rather enjoyed them. Kim my friend stayed with me until close to the middle of Gillingham when he turned inland for home while i carried on westward with a view of the power station on the isle of grain now clearly visible to the north across the mud.

The Saxon shore way soon turns inland but i stuck with the cycle route nearer the coast passing Dickens world which may be interesting and then got a bit of track in the historic dockyard and had to do some thing of a loop to get out on to a road, the cycle route signs were good for a while then somehow i did another loop which leaves me wondering were i went wrong (sometimes navigation is like that (or mine is)), anyway a good day with just about fantastic weather not to hot /cold, some fine company for a while and now Kent is completed, though i see a route on the map across the centre of Kent that would be interesting me thinks.

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