Wirral Walks - Caldy Hill in Spring
Caldy Hill (260ft high) sits on the west coast of Britain, on the Wirral peninsula, between the villages of West Kirby and Caldy.
The following photographs were all taken on 17th March, 2010, during a walk around Stapledon Woods on Caldy Hill. Spring was only just beginning to re-awaken in the woods, which are home to a wide variety of wildlife, deciduous and evergreen trees, gorse and heather. This woodland was given to the people of West Kirby by science-fiction writer, William Olaf Stapledon, who lived in Caldy.
The whole area covers 250 acres, 13 of these being owned by the National Trust, and includes Newton Common and Stapledon Woods.
Winding Paths of Stapledon Woods
Walking around Caldy Hill can be tricky, and stout footwear is advisable. If you wander off the main tracks, be aware that there are hidden drops and fissures in the hillside, and also the undergrowth is dense and thorny. Stick to the paths, and visitors should be fine.
Winding paths go off in all directions. These vary from the hard, red sandstone paths which are often laced with thick tree roots, to soft and springy - sometimes marshy - soil tracks through the lower levels of the hillside.
There a numerous benches set at strategic points so visitors can enjoy panoramic views over the mouth of the River Dee, looking across to the Flintshire hills in Wales or out past the three little islands of Little Eye, Middle Eye and Hilbre to the mouth of the River Mersey and the Irish Sea.
The Dee Estuary attracts thousands of migrating seabirds in spring and autumn, but the woods on Caldy Hill are home all year round to many birds and other wildlife.
- Spooky Cute Designs
Discover the unique charm of Spooky Cute Designs!
A trip to her local New Age store brings Tracy into conflict with the notorious Caldy Hill fae. This story features in Ruins Metropolis, an anthology published by Hadley Rille Books in June 2008.
Faerie Folks in Old Oaks!
Caldy Hill boasts numerous species of tree, not least the mighty English oak.
Greeks, Romans, Celts, Slavs and Teutonic tribes venerated the oak tree above all others, being sacred to Zeus, Jupiter, Dagda, Perun and Thor. Ancient Druids practised their rites in groves of oak trees (and some modern ones still do!) Some people believe that carrying a piece of oak in your pocket will bring good luck.
One of the most enduring of beliefs is that the oak tree can be a magical gateway into other dimensions, such as Tir-na-nOg or the realm of the Lords and Ladies, or faerie folk. If an oak tree grew beside a dark woodland pond then the likelihood of this being true was believed to increase. And on Caldy Hill you will find a dark, very still pond (in wetter months, anyway - it tends to dry out in the height of summer) surrounded by a natural grove of oaks.
Could Caldy Hill be home to faerie folk? Well, the realms of possibility are said to be endless...
Wildlife on Caldy Hill
Many birds make their home on Caldy Hill. Jays, robins, wrens, thrush, mistlethrush, blackbirds, kestrals, bullfinch, goldfinch, bluetits, cuckoo, woodpecker and more.
Tree species include oak, ash, holly, birch, sycamore, elm and chestnut.
Foxes, lizards, adders and grass snakes, frogs, common and natterjack toads also live here.
The Summit of Caldy Hill
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Our route starts at the corner of Anglesey Road and Greenbank Road in West Kirby, Wirral...
© 2010 Adele Cosgrove-Bray
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