Port Sunlight River Park used to be the Port Sunlight factory’s private Bromborough dock, from where Sunlight Soap was exported worldwide. From 1995-2006 it was a landfill site, and then it was capped with an HDPE membrane, with clay and soil, and it is now a 37 meter mound which has been turned into a small Country Park, opened in 2014. It has a woodland, a wildlife lake and is a superb viewpoint for the river estuary.
Sunday was the park’s 5th birthday picnic celebration. It wasn’t a good day for it, really, with lowering skies and spotty rain. We headed down Shore Drive, past the industrial estate, and started up the path leading through wildflower verges. They were thick with Bramble, Buddleia, Ragwort, Nettle, Michaelmas Daisy, Fleabane, Wild Carrot, Teasel, Tansy, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Comfrey, Rose Hips, Yarrow, Bindweed, Red Clover, Tufted Vetch and Knapweed.
The woods were of Ash, Oak, Rowan, Sycamore, Birch, Hawthorn and Elder. Many of the trees appear to be fruiting astoundingly well after this hot summer. A tiny Hawthorn, looking like it was only in its second or third summer, was bearing little single haws. A well-grown Rowan’s branches were bowing down with the weight of its fruit.
The pond at the northern end had just one Mallard and one Coot, but tucked away near the corner was a flock of 70+ Black-tailed Godwits, roosting and preening.
The RSPB had a tent there and one of their volunteers had a telescope on the Godwits and was telling their migration story to interested passers-by.
Part of the day’s fun and games was a “Scavenger hunt”, with quiz questions on laminated cards tied around the verges. We enjoyed question 2, especially the tongue-in-cheek suggested answer [c]. (It’s answer [a], of course).
The Mayor and Mayoress were there, introduced by a “town crier”, and invited to cut the celebration cake.
The local Bat Group had a stand, as did the bee-keepers and the Soroptomists, but some planned exhibitors had been put off by the weather. We ignored the Burger Bar and the Ice Cream van (we always have our own sandwiches) but were very happy to meet our old friend Vic. Then we all went up to the top to look at the views. When the sun came out very briefly we spotted a single Swallow, and then enjoyed the panorama from Rock Ferry beach below us, past Tranmere Oil Terminal and Cammell Lairds, then out to the mouth of the river, across to the red cranes at Seaforth Docks then rightwards to the Liverpool skyline.
Public transport details: Bus X8 from Sir Thomas Street at 10.20, arriving New Chester Road / Shore Drive at 10.35. Returned from New Chester Road / Opp Shore Drive on the No. 1 bus at 2.35, arriving Liverpool 3.00.