The Anderton Boat Lift trip had been cancelled due to staff shortages, and it was decided to stay local for now and resume the Cheshire Ring walks in March. Fifteen of us assembled at Aigburth Station for a walk through South Liverpool’s parks. Leaving the station along Mersey Road brought us to Otterspool Drive where we walked parallel to the promenade to Otterspool Park. We resisted the temptation to visit the Adventure Park and made our way through the trees to pass under the railway we’d just travelled on. The park is mainly woodland and we scrunched our way through the fallen leaves. Although underground, we were following the course of the River Jordan which flows from Sefton Park into the Mersey. Passing through the park gates we reached Jericho Lane and the subway under Aigburth Road which took us to the southern entrance to Sefton Park. We followed the lake before taking a curving path through trees towards the edge of the park and then turning back towards the Palm House. We saw the eight statues of explorers around it, including Columbus and Cook, and the Peter Pan statue. A short walk then took us to the café where we had a drinks break. Refreshed, we walked along the perimeter and Aigburth Drive to leave the park and take Windermere Terrace into Princes Park. Dave told us the story of Judy, the Donkey, who saved fifteen children from the park’s lake. Her gravestone is in the park, but we couldn’t find it. We left the park through the Sunburst Gates and made our way to the magnificent Princes Boulevard. This once run down part of Liverpool has been transformed into a beautiful avenue through Toxteth. A dedicated cycle path keeps cyclists safe, but also away from pedestrians who have their own attractive path with many installations and plaques detailing the history and heritage of the area. The multicultural nature of the community is evidenced at the end of the boulevard, where nine different places of worship can be seen with a plaque detailing each’s history. A short walk along Upper Parliament Street took us into St James Gardens, once a cemetery, in the grounds of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. As well as superb views of the Cathedral, the gardens contain the Huskisson Memorial and the only surviving natural spring in Liverpool. We left the gardens by a tunnel through the rock, lined with recycled grave stones. This took us out between the main entrance to the Cathedral and the Oratory, where funerals took place before burials in the cemetery. Tracey Emin’s sculpture, nicknamed the “Bird On A Stick” has lost its bird and is now a stick! Thankful that the threatened rain hadn’t materialised, we made our way into town for the journey home.
Thanks to Anne for the information and histories of each of the parks she gave us as we passed through them on the walk. Thanks to Anne and Shirley for organising and recce-ing. Thanks to Dave for the Judy the Donkey legend.