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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Walk 199 Crosby to Liverpool

Walk 199 Crosby to Liverpool

(Fourth leg of English coastal walk – Gretna Green to Chester)

Map: L/R 108
Distance: 10 miles or 16 km approx
Difficulty: Easy mainly flat.
Terrain: coastal path, road walking (tedious at times)
Access: Parking in both places
Public transport: Frequent trains run between Hall Road Station (to the north of) Crosby and Liverpool Central.

The walk between Formby and Crosby is best avoided because of the dangerous areas that contain military rifle ranges leaving little access to the coast. The walk therefore starts to the north of Crosby on the coast near Hall Road Station.

The major feature of the Blundell Sands at Crosby is ‘Another Place’. This is a set of 100 life size sculptures of men looking out to sea. They are spaced out on 3 kilometres of beach and up to I km out at sea. They are secured on solid foundations and are cast iron replicas of the artist, Anthony Gormley. Some have become submerged and are gaining character as they are affected by the elements. See photograph underneath.

Crosby itself goes back to Viking times and the name originally meant ‘village of the cross’. Several well known people come from the area including Kenny Everett and Anne Robinson – Cherie Blair went to school here. Follow the cycle path down to Waterloo. On the opposite bank are the buildings of Wallasey.

The path skirts the Marine Lake before cutting inwards near Seaforth. Look out for the large mural which tells the story of the area between 1900 and 1914. It pictures The Dockers Umbrella, an overhead railway for dock workers, which was demolished in 1970. Also featured are The Titanic (many officers and crew lived nearby), old trams and a bathing machine.

From here on the walk to Bootle is a bit of a slog. The pavement is alongside a very busy and noisy main road. The docks and shipyards once stretched for ten miles but are now mostly concentrated on the Bootle waterfront. It is impossible to miss the busy entrance to The Port of Liverpool which deals with grain and containers (recently expanded and updated, I understand). Once the second biggest port by tonnage handled, Liverpool is now the seventh busiest.

Just before the Sandhills area, turn left along the A5038 which is a quieter road with more interesting buildings to see. Follow this road all the way into Liverpool. Many derelict buildings were evident when I walked this stretch. On a more positive note, on the River Mersey Side, the impressive Jesse Hartley Clocktower can be viewed through gaps in the walls/buildings. Built in 1848 it is also known as Victoria Tower and served as an aid to ships with accurate time and weather warnings. Look out for Stanley Dock on the left hand side of the road. This was also designed by Hartley and opened in 1848. It looked rather derelict when I walked past but it is a Grade 2 listed building purported to be the biggest brick building in the world with 27 million bricks. On the right hand side of the road is the old entrance to Clarence Dock (named after the Duke of Clarence who became William 1V). The dock was filled in 1929, then a power station was built on the site, then this was demolished in 1990. A plaque on the old dock wall explains that through the dock gates poured most of the 1,300,000 Irish migrants who fled the Great Famine between in Ireland between 1845 and 1852.

Further along, at the end of the road, is the modern frontage at Princes Dock- this area was redeveloped from the 1821 old docks.

The walk finishes at The Royal Liver Building – an iconic structure overlooking The Mersey. This is a Grade 1 listed building of 1911 and still houses The Royal Liver Assurance Group. It was one of the first buildings in the World to use reinforced concrete and was the tallest building in the UK until 1961. Be sure too look out for the Liver Bird sculptures on top of the building. This building and the tow next to it - The Cunard Building and The Port of Liverpool Building are known as The Three Graces.

More about Liverpool on the next walk.

Photos show: Another Place, Crosby - one of the sculptures, others in the background; the mural near Seaforth; Stanley Docks building, Liverpool; Jesse Hartley tower; Liver Building.

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