Sunday 8 February 2015

Winter Beach Walk

Saturday 7 February 2015

Our campervan remains in deep refit, although we hope it'll be finished within a month and then we can start to travel and live the life we've dreamed about for years.  But in the meantime the occasional sunny winter's day breaks the monotony of the cold, grey skies. Saturday was forecast as cloudy with sunny intervals, so we decided to visit the Wirral Country Park, about a 35 minute drive from home.

We arrived at about 1120 and were pleasantly surprised to find free car parking and plenty of it.  Walking boots on, we stopped off at the visitor centre then followed the steps down to the beach.  This was our first visit to Thurstaston beach and it reminded us very much of Hillhead cliffs and beach, close to where we used to live in Gosport on the south coast, overlooking the Isle of Wight.  The beach is a mix of sand, mud and a variety of rocks and stones, including granite.  The sandy cliffs are suffering from erosion and some recent falls were evident.    The beach is on the western coast of the Wirral peninsular, overlooking the Dee Estuary and the North Wales coast.

The steps brought us down to the beach near Shore Cottage.  We'd seen this place on George Clarke's Amazing Spaces, when the owners had built a contemporary and very cool creative studio, next to the cottage and beach and overlooking the Dee Estuary.  We quite often collect driftwood, stones, shells and 'sea glass' (pieces of coloured glass smoothed by the action of the tides) and have turned them into mobiles to hang from our 'Tacky Shack' or pile around the garden and deck.  It's certainly a great spot for a studio and they run some really interesting courses

We walked north along the beach up to the sailing club slipway, then turned around and headed south.  The tide was an hour or so off reaching its highest point, although we could see from the tideline that we'd be safe staying on the beach.  There were loads of wading birds, searching for food in the mud and sand at the water's edge.  Occasionally something would spook them and they'd fly off en-masse, skimming the sea in a display of low-level maritime murmuration, before returning to the edge to feed again before the tide was at its fullest. There were quite a few people out walking the beach, mainly dog walkers. The early part of the walk was quite sunny, although with a chilly northerly breeze, but as time went on the clouds thickened, the sun occasionally beaming through over the estuary.  

As the tide reached its maximum, local fishermen took to the water in small wooden boats. It looked like they were setting crab pots, but it was difficult to see from a distance.  A number of bird watchers were also out at the southern end of the beach, around the areas of reeds or some form of seagrass at the water's edge. With the extensive mud flats this must be a haven for nature lovers.  

On our return, we took the steps up to the cliff top and headed back towards the visitor centre, before stopping off at GJs Cafe for a hot drink and a bit to eat - tasty food and very reasonably priced.  This was our first visit to Thurstaston beach but I'm sure it won't be our last.  It's an ideal spot to spend a warm, sunny day, facing west, with lovely walks and views.  We could also pitch our campervan at the Caravan Club site very close by, so if we want to escape one weekend but not travel too far from home, this will be an ideal spot to get our fix of beach and sea, something we really miss since moving up from the south coast.

Winter sunshine and the hint of a warm spring around the corner
Wading birds feeding at the water's edge
High tide and the fishermen return

Later in the day - thicker cloud and cold, damp breeze

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