Miles of golden sand fringe the Wirral Peninsula where it meets the Irish Sea. For the unwary, there are treacherous mud banks and unexpectedly deep channels. The Dee estuary embraces three small islands – Hilbre, Middle Eye and Little Eye all with their own place in history.
The sand stretches from New Brighton on its northerly corner to West Kirby on its southern aspect. New Brighton is best known for its origin as a slightly vulgar Edwardian holiday resort and West Kirby as a genteel residential zone, but there is so much more to this captivating stretch of coast.
In the year AD 902 Ingimund and a motley band of rogue Vikings, who had been expelled from Dublin and then Anglesey, landed on the southwest corner of Wirral to seek asylum. This was unexpectedly granted by Aethelflaed – the Warrior Queen of Mercia. It was the beginning of the Viking influence on Wirral, the shadow of which is still with us today.
But long before the Vikings set a mailed boot on the Wirral shore the Romans were busily expanding Meols as a significant port and as an alternative to navigating the slowly silting Dee to Deva (Chester).
At about the same time, the shelving shore at Meols was becoming a beach market accommodating traders from many of the communities bordering the Irish Sea. Customers may also have included Roman soldiers, administrators and others from further afield. Judging by the huge number of finds from the ever-shifting sands it was a busy and thriving place. At that time the beach extended seawards for over a mile from where it is today. Indeed there are images of submerged tree trunks way beyond the current low water mark.
But it doesn’t end there. Tales abound of the wreckers operating on this stretch of coast. In 1690 William III’s armies were billeted in the area before departing to fight in Ireland and in the eighteenth-century Wallasey was home to the infamous Mother Redcap and her band of smugglers.
The Wirral Shore offers plenty of opportunities for research and that is exactly what we shall do. Why not join us?