Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Port Sunlight River Park

This riverside park, on a restored landfill site, offers a remarkable variety of habitats for such a small space. I started by walking round the lower path, beside the muddy creek of the River Dibbin towards the Mersey Viewing Area. There are striking views across the Mersey, and there were plenty of woodland birds singing in the scrub on the slope of the large plateau that has been created ~ robins, wrens, blue and great tits, as well as a blackbird and the inevitable woodpigeon.

Further round, the path is bordered by taller trees, with chaffinches, greenfinches and chiffchaff singing, and excellent views down to the wide expanse of mudflats, with shelduck, oystercatchers, dunlin and redshank, as well as a few mallard in the water. On the other side of the path, the reedbeds in the lake are now well established, and I saw a pair of reed warblers as well as a male reed bunting perching and displaying. Out on the water a pair of pintail were busy searching for food below the surface, as were half a dozen tufted duck, while a coot and several teal were joined by herring gulls having a rinse in the fresh water.

When I arrived up on the summit a lark was singing and a pair of wheatears were flitting about: and all this in sight of the wastewater works and dockside businesses !  All in all, well worth a visit, as the wildflower and tree planting take hold and the site matures. Accessibility is good, with firm paths throughout (two of the paths to the summit are marked on the site map as steep, but the rest are manageable). There are toilets at the Mersey Viewing Area, and plenty of benches along the way.

The LandTrust: Port Sunlight River Park has been transformed from a closed landfill site to a 35-hectare park providing a popular community space with an array of walkways, wildlife, wildflowers and a wetlands area


Anne Pope

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