Burton on the Dee Estuary

Hello again people and pooches. It’s Joe the Cocker here. My human dad didn’t feel like taking me on a hike on this day so, I had to do a little bit of gentle persuasion. I started off by staring at him. I built it up to the odd high-pitched whine. Then I went a step further by continually whining with the odd bark thrown in. I finally broke him down by barking in his face and running around in circles in front of him. My persistence and insistence wore him down and eventually he said ‘Joe, do you want to go hiking, by any chance?’ I have got him wrapped around my little, metaphorical finger. The weather has been horrendous lately with flooding and high winds affecting a lot of the country but, where we live we have been very lucky. For a man and his dog hiking in this area the worst thing to worry about is the amount of mud. For a man hiking it is a pain in the derriere but, for his pooch, it’s heaven. Everywhere we have hiked lately I have managed to get incredibly filthy. Even with my new waterproof coat I still end up caked in the stuff. So, my dad decided that we would do some walking along quiet country lanes and look for less muddy paths on the Wirral. Surprisingly, it wasn’t raining but, there was a fairly strong south-westerly wind blowing.

St. Nicholas’ Church

Off we went to the tiny picturesque village of Burton at the southern end of the Wirral. It only takes 25 minutes to drive there but, I still managed to have a snooze while my dad drove. We found a parking spot at the rear of Gladstone Village Hall overlooking the playing fields. The village is a quaint place with numerous thatched roofed houses. It is built on a sandstone outcrop, which can be seen poking through the roadside in places, as we walked along The Village, the main street. ‘Burtone’ was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086 and used to be a medieval port until the Dee Estuary silted up. St. Nicholas’ Church towers above the village on the right as we walked down the hill. It was originally built in the 12th century but the current red sandstone building dates from 1721.

Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves was todays tune. Ironic really as the sun wasn’t visible and the last time waves were seen in Burton was over 300 years ago when the marshes hadn’t formed. I simply ignore him now while I concentrate on sniffing for wildlife.

The Rake
Burton Woods

We passed a couple of thatched roofed cottages before we left the road at The Rake, a cobbled uphill path leading into Burton Woods. This nature reserve woodland with its oak and beech trees, is owned and maintained by the National Trust. The paths were muddy as everywhere seems to be at the moment. The caws emitted by the numerous crows were distracting me from searching for grey squirrels. We followed the path until it circled round to The Rake at the rear of the church. We walked back along The Village again and my dad said that he was glad to be walking on a good surface instead of the slippery mud between the trees.

Barn End
Bishop Wilson’s Cottage

We walked past Barn End Cottage that dates back to 1450 and Bishop Wilson’s Cottage, which is currently for sale at £500,000. Opposite these cottages stands the Edwardian Burton Manor. The previously named Burton Hall was built in 1805 and was remodelled in 1904 for Henry Neville Gladstone, the son of William Ewart Gladstone, the former Prime Minister. We had a walk around the walled gardens and admired the view across the Dee Estuary towards North Wales. Moel Famau, Connah’s Quay power station and the Flintshire Bridge could all be seen from the viewpoint outside of the hall. It would have been nice to see the formal gardens but, I am not allowed in there.

Burton Manor
The walled garden

When we left the Manor House we continued along The Village until the road divided ahead of us. We chose the left-hand lane called Station Road which led to Burton Point. On our left we came to Hampston’s Well that used to supply the village with drinking water. The stone steps leading down to the well were overgrown as was the well. Its recorded use dates to the early 1600’s but was probably used when there was an iron age settlement at Burton Point. It is regarded as a Holy Well or Sacred Spring. I had a quick slurp of the water and off we went towards the estuary.

Hampstons Well
The well or spring

When we reached the entry point to the vast marshland we took the southerly path towards Connah’s Quay. The marshes are a popular spot for birdwatching and there was a line of cars with twitchers using their binoculars and sheltering from the wind. We walked for about a mile in this direction but, my dad decided that we would save this route for another day. The red flag was flying which warns of the MOD use of the area as a firing range. My dad wasn’t convinced as there was no sign of activity anywhere in the area. Maybe the flag is permanently in place? We retraced our steps to the kissing gate that led us to the continuation of Station Road heading north towards Little Neston. The road soon became a narrow lane and then a cycle-path along the edge of the marsh land. I had a good run along the path, splashing through the puddles.

The Harp Inn

The Harp Inn at the Quayside appeared in front of us at the end of the footpath. My dad said that it would be a lovely spot for lunch in better weather with its numerous picnic tables overlooking the wetlands. The pub used to be a coal miners inn that was converted from two cottages. It served the nearby Neston Colliery that closed in 1927. After walking along the Quayside we came to a gate that we passed through heading towards the site of the colliery. It was wet, wet, wet so we turned back. We turned left, slightly uphill, along Marshlands Road.

The marsh firing range

We crossed the railway bridge before turning right along a pavement walk on the side of Burton Road. Ness Botanical Gardens were on our right but, we didn’t visit as the only part of the attraction that is dog friendly is the patio area outside of the café. We carried on until we rejoined The Village at the junction with Station Road. It wasn’t long before we were back at the car. The end of another afternoon getting mud covered. I love it. Till next time!

Burton playing fields

5 thoughts on “Burton on the Dee Estuary

  1. That sounded like a nice little wee hike . Enjoyed the photos and interesting information about the place 👍. Glad you happy getting your walk & most importantly……getting muddy 😄🐾🐾🐾

    Liked by 1 person

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