Monday, 30 December 2013


In my Liverpool post I mentioned that Liverpool became a major port after the River Dee started silting up.  The ports of Neston and, later, Parkgate on the River Dee were Liverpool's predecessors, so Neston and Parkgate's loss was Liverpool's gain.  Neston, whose history goes back as far as Viking times, became an important port in the 1500s when it became the main point of departure for Spain, France and Ireland, helped along by excellent coaching links to London.  As the River Dee began to silt up the port activity moved to Parkgate, which in turn became one of the main departure points for Ireland.  It also became a fashionable resort, but now that the sea has receded the promenade looks out over a vast salt marsh.  However, this change in geography has made the area  a magnet for birdlovers.  The Gayton Sands RSPB Reserve to the west of Parkgate welcomes large flocks of wintering waders such as pintails and bar-tailed godwits, while along the foreshore birds of prey such as peregrines and hen harriers can be seen going about their hunting.  Another popular area for nature-lovers is the Wirral Country Park near Neston, which follows the path of a disused railway line.  There used to be collieries operating around Neston, and this part of the local history can be relived by following the Neston Collieries Trail.  To the south-east Ness Botanic Gardens enjoys a favourable geographical position with relatively low rainfall for the west coast and less severe frosts than other areas nearby, allowing the beautiful collection of plants to thrive.

Map of the area. 

File:Ness Botanic Gardens, Wirral - - 290775.jpg
Ness Botanic Gardens. Photo by Alan Pennington, via Wikimedia Commons

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