The Wirral Maritime Trail
Look to England’s North West and you’ll find the region’s only peninsula – Wirral. It lies between the River Dee and River Mersey, and bathes in the waters of Liverpool Bay and the Irish Sea. Wirral Peninsula has a unique coastline with a variety of beaches, cliffs, wetland habitats and great natural beauty.
You can explore the peninsula by following our specially designed Maritime Heritage Trail, download the map for a fascinating day out.
Wirral’s maritime economy really took off during the industrial era with the growth of shipbuilding in Birkenhead and Wallasey leading to a population explosion of dramatic proportions. This period also resulted in the area becoming a world leader in maritime innovation and oceanography.
The legacy of this heritage is clearly visible throughout the borough, but it is most evident along the Mersey Waterfront from Eastham up to New Brighton.
The Wirral Maritime Heritage trail tells the story of the people and places of interest through a series of plaques at key sites along the waterfront situated where ferry services are or were once located.
Eastham Ferry, first recorded in 1357, was once a vital river crossing but ceased operating in 1928. Throughout Victorian times it was a popular venue for day trippers. The 1857 ticket office and part of the 1874 pier can still be seen today.
The Eastham Ferry plaque is located on the pier at Eastham Ferry, just off Ferry Road.
The name Woodside dates from a time when the woodland was close to the water. It is now the site of the only remaining ferry service from Birkenhead to Liverpool. Also close by is Birkenhead Priory where an order of Benedictine Monks established the oldest recorded ferry service in Britain in 1150 AD. The priory, still open to the public, is the oldest standing building on Merseyside.
The Woodside plaque is located to the right of Woodside Ferry Terminal off the Woodside Ferry Approach.
The medieval Seacombe Ferry operated from the North side of Wallasey Pool to Birkenhead. By 1753, a new site on the Mersey Coast had been established for a ferry service to Liverpool. As passenger numbers grew, a small slipway was built to be replaced by a series of terminals, the current one dating from 1933. As well as catching the Mersey Ferry, you can visit the Aquarium to meet some of the marine life of the Wirral Coast.
The Seacombe Ferry plaque is located on Seacombe Promenade adjacent to the terminal building just off the A554.
Egremont Ferry was founded by Liverpool Harbour-Master Captain John Askew and Sir John Tobin in 1828. The pier and landing stage were hit by vessels in 1932 and 1941. The extent of the damage caused by the later collision resulted in the Ferry being closed and the pier eventually being dismantled in 1946.
The Egremont plaque is located on the promenade just off the A554 at the end of Tobin Street.
New Brighton Ferry was established in the early part of the 19th Century. The Ferry’s original wooden pier was replaced by a cast iron promenade and ferry pier in 1866. In 1936, the service was reduced to a seasonal one due to the growth in transport alternatives. The seasonal service continued up until 1971 when a decline in visitor numbers led to the closure of the ferry in 1972.
The New Brighton plaque is located on Marine Promenade near the junction with Victoria Road.
The historic Fort Perch Rock is also located here and was built as a coastal defence battery during the Napoleonic period to protect the Port of Liverpool. It now features a museum and exhibitions.
The Wirral Maritime Heritage trail has been created with funding from Wirral Waterfront and the European Regional Development Fund. It has been delivered by Wirral Council in partnership with the Wirral History and Heritage Forum.
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