Railway Walks & Explorations
A rough, illustrated, guide to the former Birkenhead Railway (originally the L&NW & GW JR Hooton to West Kirby line) - now known as the Wirral Way - and what it looks like today.
By clicking the icon in the top left of the map window, you can select/deselect other options to view or click the icon top right to view full screen.
The Flickr photos for this map are also viewable at https://www.flickr.com/photos/deuchars/albums/72157690590071341
The Wirral Way route is shown in
and a former branch to Wirral Colliery (near Little Neston) is also indicated
The route is an easy walk with several access points, parking and opportunities for refreshment. Good views across the Dee estuary can be seen from an otherwise tree-lined route wih a surprising number of cuttings! Detours at Parkgate and Neston are particularly recommended. There is a visitor centre at the former Thurstaston Station (just one platform remains) and the station at Hadlow Road is preserved in an immaculate 'as was' condition and is worth a visit in its own right. By contrast, nothing at all remains of the original connection to the remaining railway out of West Kirby, just beyond the current station platforms, and this last 200 yard section at the northern end of the route - including the former platforms - is completely obliterated by a car park. At the southern end at Hooton Station, there are similarly no obvious remains of the former connection. However, the fact that both ends of the Wirral Way still have existing railway stations make this an excellent choice for a one-way walk - completing the loop by rail in and out of Birkenhead.
I have found a number of websites with more information on the railway and its
history. The following are just samples.
For a historic map of the route, follow this link and then adjust the
transparency on the slider scale to view the present day appearance:
The best starting point is probably https://everything.explained.today/Wirral_Country_Park/ which has links to probably everything you want to know about this route.
This website http://www.visitparkgate.co.uk/wirral_way_country_park/4564767899/index.html is actually a promotion for a pub at Parkgate (a recommended detour) but gives quite a succinct description and history, as well as describing a couple of shorter walks.
routes.co.uk/routes/home.nsf/routeslinkswalks/wirral-way-walking-and-cycle-route is primarily aimed at the cyclist, but gives generally useful info plus a few good photos.