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Jonathan Manning enjoys sensational views over the Dee Estuary on this circular route from Wirral Country Park Club Campsite
As managers of the Premier League football clubs on the other side of the Mersey might say, this is a ride of two halves.
The first offers shock spellbinding views over the River Dee estuary to Hilbre Island and North Wales, followed by the vast beach and promenade at Hoylake and Meols. The second half loops back inland, following country roads and lanes before passing through suburban estates and a fun stretch of woodland.
The route follows the waymarked Wirral Circular Trail, a brilliant idea to showcase the best of the area, even if the loop format inevitably leads to some sections being more attractive than others.
The early miles offer a mix of open views and tantalising glimpses across sand and sea, with many potential diversions to parks and the coast – heading off course to Red Rocks Beach in Hoylake is definitely worth the short extra distance.
The ride starts on a traffic-free, arrow- straight former railway line, so the bustling streets of West Kirby come as something of a shock to the system.
There’s an excellent stretch of beach on the western edge of the town and an abundance of places to find refreshments. Pedalling on to Hoylake, famous for the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, which hosts The Open, brings you to the magnificent North Parade, where a vast beach and mud flats lead out to an army of wind turbines. The wide parade makes for easy riding, but once past the new lifeboat station riders face a dilemma.
For the satisfaction of completing a circular route, keep going via residential roads, Arrowe Country Park and a short, fun section of rocky off-road trail through woodland. However, the crown jewels of this route are all along the coastline, so turning around and retracing the outward route effectively doubles its star attractions.
You can download this route from our dedicated Strava page here.
1. Turn left out of the site and follow the road to Dee Sailing Club. Take the trail on the right, waymarked Wirral Circular Trail. Continue on this old railway line, passing under bridges, crossing Sandy Lane and through Ashton Park, to reach Grange Road in West Kirby.
2. 4km – Cross the road in the direction of the Morrisons petrol station and continue on Orrysdale Road. Go straight across the first crossroads with Bridge Road and stay on Orrysdale Road to a corner where the 3road bends 90° to the right.
3. 4.7km – At the corner go straight ahead, following the Wirral Circular Trail sign to Hoylake with train tracks on the left and a school playing field to the right. 4Continue to a road with a railway crossing on the left.
4. 6km – Turn left at the road, signposted to Hoylake Sea Front, cross the railway, and in 100m go straight over the roundabout. Continue on this road (The King’s 5Gap) for 500m to reach the beach at North Parade.
5. 6.6km – At North Parade turn right, keeping the sea on your left. Stay on this road as it passes the lifeboat station on the left and eventually becomes Moels Parade. Continue to a car park.
6. 9.2km – Turn right before the car park and follow Bennets Lane to a T-junction. Turn left along Park Road and then right onto Carr Lane. Cross the level crossing and continue on Carr Lane as it bends to the left and then right, eventually reaching a housing estate.
7. 11.5k – Turn left along Carr House Lane. At the first T-junction turn right along Millhouse Lane to reach a set of traffic lights. Go straight across the traffic lights on to Saughall Road. Continue to The Saughall Pub.
8. 12.8k – Turn left at the pub then at a T-junction turn left along Saughall Massie Road. In 300m turn right onto Girtrell Road. When the road bends 90° to the left, leave it and follow the path through a grassed area, over a culvert, and then turn left along Cortsway West, signposted to Arrowe Country Park, Storeton and Chester. Continue to a T-junction.
9. 14.2k – Cross straight over the road and enter Arrowe Country Park. Stay on the good track to the right and continue to Arrowe Brook Road.
10. 15.4k – Turn right at the road then immediately left along Arrowe Brook Lane. Continue to a roundabout and turn left along Mill Hill Road. In 150m after the roundabout, turn right along Sandy Lane North. This is a bumpy, rocky road; when it bends 90° to the right, go straight ahead along the waymarked bridleway. Stay on the rocky track to Sandy Lane and go straight ahead to a T-junction with Thurstaston Road.
11. 18.4k – Turn right at the T-junction to reach a roundabout in 500m. Go straight over the roundabout along Station Road, following signs to Wirral Country Park. Stay on this road as it turns to the right (church on left) and then left as it heads for the coast. At the end of the road turn right into a caravan park and follow the road until you reach the Club site on the left.