Visit Parkgate

The only coastal resort in Cheshire

Take a Walk or Ride on the Wild Side!

The Wirral is unique in that it is fortunate to have the Wirral Way which incorporates the Wirral Country Park, a stunning stretch of 12.2 miles that runs from West Kirby all the way to Hooton in Chester The Wirral Way itself is the old disused railway line that has now been turned into a stunning coastal path running along the Wirral Peninsular.

As part of this Wirral Way there is Hadlow Station that is a victorian railway that has been kept in its original style to this day. You can still see many of the old railway features along the route.

The Wirral Way is perfect for cycling and walking and to do as many or as few miles as you like with a number of stop offs along the way in some stunning places such as West Kirby, Thurstaston and also Parkgate.

Wirral Country Park runs along the coast of the peninsular offering some amazing nature trails and wildlife, the main visitors centre at Thurstaston is open all year round.

Recommended walks and bike rides

Please find below two local pub walks and bike rides that The Ship Hotel have tried and tested. The walk... a lovely walk of 3.5 miles along the front at Parkgate and taking in the country life of the village. The bike ride takes you the full length from Parkgate up to West Kirby passing through Heswall and Thurstaston on your way.

Perfect for getting out and about and exploring what the local area has to offer. For more information on the below walk and cycle visit The Ship Hotel.

For information on bike hire on the Wirral visit our What to Do page.

Walk 1: Parkgate to Gayton and back

Cycle 1: Wirral Way to West Kirby and back

Explore the Wirral Country Park

wirral way

Along the Wirral Way


Wildlife in the Park


The steps leading to the cliffs at Thurstaston

thurstaston visitors centre

Thurstaston Visitors Centre & Pond


Hadlow Railway Station, Willaston

cycling the wirral way

Wirral Cycle Path/ Wirral Way


The Wirral Country Park lies both in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and the county of Cheshire. It was the first designated country park in Britain, opening in 1973. The park is based around the Wirral Way which follows the track bed of part of the former Birkenhead Railway route from West Kirby to Hooton (Chester). The old line, which closed in 1962, follows the estuary of the River Dee for 7 miles (11 km) between West Kirby and Parkgate, then heads across the south of the Wirral to Hooton for the remaining 5 miles (8km).
The country park itself lies along the Wirral Way towards the middle of this route. There are two visitor centres along the Wirral Way; near the site of Thurstaston railway station at Thurstaston and at the preserved Hadlow Road railway station in Willaston.

How it came about.........

Work began on the park in 1969, and the park was formally opened in 1973 by Lord Leverhulme. Construction of the park required the removal of 30 miles (48 km) of rail track and accompanying sleepers, the digging and forming of drainage channels, leveling and consolidation of thousands of tons of gravel or ballast, and the removal of some brick built road bridges. Of the original railway line, little remains: the old station platform at Thurstaston, the preserved 1950's era railway station at Hadlow Road, Willaston, a number of bridges and the occasional railway incline signs.
Wildlife in the Country Park........
The park is home to badgers and foxes and to ten species of butterfly identified among the local wildlife. The estuary along which the park is located, is home to populations of ragworm, lugworm, and cockles which support various species of bird wildlife in the area, including Common Redshanks, Common Shelducks, Northern Lapwings, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and terns. During high spring tides visitors may also catch a glimpse of certain birds of prey such as Peregrines, Hen Harriers and the daytime hunting Short-eared Owls, Parkgate is perfect at high tide for catching a glimpse of some of these magnificent birds. Take a look at our Bird Watching page.
(information source: Wikipedia)

Thurstaston Visitors Centre........

The country park visitor centre is a popular destination for families, dog walkers, ramblers and just those wanting to relax and enjoy the outdoors. With its open green areas and beautiful pond bursting with wildlife it is the perfect place to relax with a good book and pass the day. Or if something a little more active is your style then why not take a walk down to the beach, take one of the nature trails or even walk to the 60-foot high cliffs that reward you with stunning views over the Dee Estuart to North Wales. There is also a bbq area which you are more than welcome to use but please remember to keep it tidy and take all rubbish home with you.

Opening hours: Open all year, 10am - 5pm daily 9 (car parks - 8am to dusk).
Address: Wirral Country Park, Station Road, Thurstaston, WIRRAL, CH61 0HN
Telephone: 0151 648 4371

Hadlow Road Raliway Station.........

On the edge of Willaston lies a reminder of a bygone age of steam railways – Hadlow Road Station. 
The station has been lovingly restored to appear as it did in the 1950s – complete with a signal box and a British Rail ticket office.

It opened in 1866 as part of a joint project by two railway companies, the Great Western Railway and London North Western Railway. The companies opened a branch line to Parkgate initially with stations at Hadlow Road, Neston and Parkgate. The venture must have been a success, as 20 years later the line was extended to West Kirkby, along with five more stations, but despite this the line remained single track, with passing loops at stations, for all its life.
But by the time British Rail was created in 1948, the Hooton to West Kirkby line was apparently in trouble and it closed to passengers in September 1956. It still found a use as a goods line and was even used to train drivers of the new diesel passenger trains, but finally shut down altogether in 1962.
 In the early 1970s the route of the branch line was chosen to create Wirral Country Park – Britain’s first such park and the route of the Wirral Way cycle path.
The station building and the eastbound platform was restored to its 1950s state, although the westbound platform, with its brick shelter, remains unrestored. Today it serves as one of two visitor centres for the Wirral Way.
(information source:

As you can see, the Wirral Way and Country Park really is a luxury that we are privileged to have here and we at "Visit Parkgate" want to promote this privilege to both local residents and visitors alike. SO next time you have some spare time, get out there, get on a pair of trainers or hop on your bike and go and see what this stunning peninsular has to offer. For more information visit

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