Port Sunlight, a model village built to house the workers at the Sunlight Soap factory, is a good place to go in chancy weather, as it has several warm and dry places to retreat to if necessary. We walked along the Dell first, as it has several interesting specimen trees, and even the bare winter trees are lovely, such as this shapely Oak.
Near the Dell Bridge we could hear various twitterings and cheepings, including the long ‘wheeps’ which may have been a Nuthatch. Other birds were Crows, Wood Pigeons, Blue Tits and Long-tailed Tits, but something was making an unusual chattering and beeping noise, which was almost electronic. There were no Starlings about, so maybe it was three Jays, roosting deep in a tree, and perhaps exchanging subdued contact calls.
The recent storms have done some damage. An old Lombardy Poplar had lost a large branch, and a whole tree was down at the top of the bank.
Dotted around were patches of Snowdrops, Crocuses and not-yet-out Daffodils. They are excruciatingly neat, in well-defined colour groups, with barely a bloom out of place!
The garden around Christ Church has a Cherry Plum tree which was just breaking into blossom. It is the first of the Prunus group to flower, usually beating Blackthorn by at least two weeks. There were also the first flowers of Forsythia and Quince.
When we were here last year, on 26th March 2023, we noticed that they had recently felled a row of tall Lombardy Poplars at the junction of Church Drive and The Causeway. On the lawn behind the stumps there has been new tree planting – the ones with labels were Rowan, Pin Oak, Red Oak and Downy Birch, and there were many other without labels. But the stumps of the original trees, which were just sprouting last spring, have grown great bushy crowns of new shoots, all in just a single summer.
It had been warm in the occasional sun, but penetratingly cold when the heavy clouds came over and threatened rain. We visited the garden centre, lunched in the Queen Elizabeth Memorial Rose Garden, popped into the Lady Lever Art Gallery for a warm up, then took the train home. It was too cold to be lingering.
Public transport details: Chester train from Central at 10.15, arriving Port Sunlight at 10.33. Returned from Bebington station at 1.42, arriving Central at 2.05.