Adele Cosgrove-Bray is a writer, poet and artist who lives on the Wirral Peninsula in England.
Sandlea Park, West Kirby
Tucked away between Grange Road/Meols Drive and Dee Lane in West Kirby is a small but picturesque oasis of trees, shrubs and formal gardens which once formed the approach to the local library. The adjacent buildings are now private apartments, and the library has long been sited in The Concourse, but the Sandlea Park is free to visitors seven days a week.
Locals like to sit on the benches during their lunch breaks, or they might bring children here for a picnic when the wind racing over the beach is too wild. The beach is just down the road, barely two minutes' walk away, and the shops along The Crescent and Banks Road are just around the corner.
The following photographs aim to capture something of this secluded corner of one of Wirral's most popular villages.
Map for Sandlea Park, West Kirby.
Grange Road Entrance to Sandlea Park
West Kirby is a small Georgian seaside town yet has a surprisingly wide choice of places to eat, from quaint tea shops to stylish coffee bars and quality restaurants. There's a large supermarket by the sea-front plus independent shops on Grange Road, Dee Lane, The Crescent and Banks Road.
As with many popular seaside towns, traffic can be a problem especially at weekends during the peak tourist season. Sandlea Park offers a sheltered hide-away from the busy promenade area, and tourists tend to waltz right past it as the side entrance on Dee Lane, which leads straight to the beach, has no sign and so tends to be overlooked.
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The Old Library
The black and white building on one side of the park used to serve as West Kirby's public library. That is now located in The Concourse, next to the station, where you will also find the swimming pool, sports centre, youth club, medical centre, Police Point and One Stop Shop.
The ex-library building in Sandlea Park has now been converted into now private homes, which overlook the picturesque formal gardens.
Formal Gardens in Sandlea Park
I first visited West Kirby decades ago. I was living in St Helens at the time, in a Victorian terraced house with a leaky skylight, a ghost and dry rot, so it was nice to get away from all that for a while.
I instantly took to the place. The energy felt right. The place felt strangely familiar. It felt like home. And then it became my home for many years.
Anyway, on that first visit to Sandlea Park I shared a bag of chips with two local squirrels and a robin. And just down the road is the sea.
You can't really miss the sea - just follow the increasing mounds of sand down the narrow road until the beach stretches out before and either side of you. The Wirral peninsula boasts something like twenty-five miles of the cleanest beaches in Europe.
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© 2009 Adele Cosgrove-Bray