Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here with Hopalong. My human has finally had his knee injury checked out by a doctor, instead of relying on YouTube videos. He has a meniscus tear in his left knee so, distance and hillwalking are out for a while. It’s local short walks until it either heals on its own or he has an operation. He is definitely cramping my style. I expect him to up his game and find some interesting new places for us to visit. He spent some time looking for somewhere within our Covid Tier 3 region and he came up with a large country park that we have never visited before, only a few miles from home.
Stadt Moers Park in Whiston covers an area of 220 acres and is divided into four unequal quadrants that is dissected by the M57 motorway. The area used to be dominated by coal mines and latterly by a large brickwork manufacturing operation. When the brickworks closed the site was used as a landfill until it was taken up for reclamation to convert to a series of public open spaces. The name comes from Whiston’s twin Town of Moers in Germany.
We parked in the Tushingham car park to begin our exploration of the area. The site has a few colour -coded waymarked walks of varying lengths and difficulties but, we chose to walk every path that we could find, so as to cover as much of the park as possible. Knowsley Council website’s shows all the available options for the waymarked walks.
As we left the car park, we immediately came to a taped-off area of wetland that looked intriguing but, we thought it best to stay out. We walked under the stone-arched railway bridge, that took us into the Tushingham Quadrant of the park. The path took us on a gentle incline immediately on our left, leaving the main path. The area was deserted, and we took advantage of the lack of visitors to criss-cross the area on the winding footpaths. We soon turned right to walk along a brick surfaced road and pavement that was once part of the vast Tushingham Brickworks. The brickworks commenced production in 1898 and was finally demolished in the late 1980’s. Some of the Mineral Railway that supported the works can still be seen by the parks pond today.
We walked around the wetland area where rushes and reeds provide a habitat for newts, frogs, herons, kingfishers, damselflies and dragonflies. Adjacent to the wetlands is a lake known as Tushingham’s Pond. The lake is a remnant of the industrial past of the site where spoil tips from the collieries surrounded a meadow that eventually filled with water.
The quadrant is also a patchwork of meadows and woodland. The meadows were formed in the 1980’s when the waste tips were covered in clay and topsoil. The woodland was planted in the 1990’s alongside the existing patches of trees that are remnants of the farmland that originally dominated the area. Oaks, birches and hawthorn are the main trees in this quadrant, along with the odd pine. Unfortunately, I had to stay on my lead for most of the time that we spent in this part of Stadt Moers due to the number of dogwalkers that appeared. I did get to run around off-lead now and again in the quieter areas.
One very sad fact about the area is that it was the site of a double child murder in the 1980’s. Although a suspect was tried for the murders, he was found not guilty and the case has never been solved. The lake was also the site of another murder when two anglers fought by the pond and one was killed. It is a beautiful area with a very sad past.
The Manchester-Liverpool railway ran through the site and in the 1820’s the world’s first passenger trains steamed through the area. The Rocket, the famous early steam train, would have passed through on its way to winning the Rainhill Trials in 1829.
We left the Tushingham Quadrant at the southern end of the park, to walk under the motorway, to enter the West View Quadrant. This section of the park is a mixture of meadow and woodland, with footpaths winding their way through it. Logwood Mill Brook runs through this sector of the park that once served a mill of the same name. The area was formerly farmland and latterly used for the mining of coal.
This part of the park was quieter than the Tushingham Quadrant so, it was time for me to have a run. Sticks and puddles. It was my turn for a bit of fun. After a bit of a blast and burning off some energy it was back on the lead.
The exit from this quadrant was through another railway arch onto Pottery Lane. We crossed the road and found the gated entrance to Pluckington Quadrant. After passing the allotments on the left we entered into a large open grassy area surrounded by trees. It was completely deserted so I could have a zoomie session. Not a Zoom session as all you humans seem to be doing nowadays instead of all sitting in the same room. Boring! There is a small pond in the north east corner of the quadrant where we watched dragonflies for a few lazy minutes. The quadrant was formerly farmland and is named after the farm that once occupied the northern edge of the area.
The final quadrant was accessed after a few hundred yards of pavement walking along Pottery Lane and opposite the car park that we had left the car in. The quadrant, known as Pottery Fields, was once the home to two collieries, Carr’s and Prescot. It is a large open space with one main footpath and therefore another excuse for me to run free collecting the odd stick and munching on it. We walked around the meadow and left the main path to walk through the trees along a grassy footpath. Part of this area is reclaimed landfill and wet under paw. This didn’t bother me in the slightest as I had more zoomie moments and chased sticks that the big feller through for me. He wanted me to bring them back to him after I had run for them. Why? If he wanted that particular stick, he could go ‘fetch’ himself. He has got a nerve!
Anyway, we returned to the park entrance to cross the road into the car park where I jumped into the back of the car. It was ‘zzz’ time for me while my human carried out his duties of driving his little man home. Till next time!