Crosby beach stands out in Merseyside as the one with the interesting statues. It is, for sure, the most popular. However, there are several other stretches of coastline that are much more romantically desolate and, in my eyes, definitely worthy of a visit.
North of Crosby, there is Formby beach. This is a wood which leads through red-squirrel territory towards another beautifully windswept beach stretching for miles. Although the wood becomes an eerie morass at night, the beach remains a serene paradise with the sound of the waves gently lapping and the moonlight glinting on the sea. For a more full account, please see my post dedicated to Freshfield.https://mywildday.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/freshfield/
If you travel even further north, you reach Southport. Here, it is possible to wander towards the coast across a RSPB nature reserve and increasingly boggy territory as the line between land and sea blurs. It is another brilliantly open and seemingly desolate landscape which can bring peace of mind to any wanderer. The town of Southport offers all the necessary city amenities without really standing out as a tourist destination. Much like Liverpool, it appears very conventional but its charm understated. The beach boasts a 4380ft long pier complete with brightly coloured arcade games, café, telescope and fairytale-esque white benches. Families and old couples sit eating McDonalds’ takeaways. The pier may seem much like any other (just more of it!) But the gentle buzz of friendly activity set against the oystercatchers wading in the mudflats offers a genuinely calm and welcoming spot from which to take in the setting sun.
Across the water in the Wirral there lies an area called West Kirby with a wide open flat beach. The tide rises fast because it is so flat but, when the tide is out, it is possible to have an idyllic walk across to the island with your shoes tied around your shoulders, the sand squelching between your toes and the breeze playing about your face.
There is also a coastal path that mostly follows the shore around the Wirral. Although not strictly, a beach, it is well worth visiting. The section along the Mersey near Rock Ferry has been abused by the elements for too long without repair and is now a potholed and uneven track. Rock Ferry is in the more deprived area of the North East of the Wirral. As a consequence, there are several abandoned, although interesting, houses which can be explored.
Further along the coast, at the north-easternmost tip, is New Brighton. It is possible to cycle by the sea and along roads around most of the Wirral circular route. West from New Brighton is Leasowe, from where it is possible to visit the lighthouse at the end of each month. The path is a great cycle route although, since Liverpool is nicknamed the windy city, beware of sudden gusts when riding by the sea!
Finally, if you can’t make it to any of those, there is always the reliable old Mersey ferry which provides views of the Liverpool skyline and glimpses of the Mersey estuary towards the sea.
So what do you think, are there any coastal wonders I’ve left out? Which is your favourite beach?