Full estate walk at Speke Hall
Explore the full Speke Hall estate and take in the fine views of the Wirral, North Wales and even Liverpool’s city centre skyline. The trees are home to a fantastic variety of wildlife who call Speke Hall home.
Home Farm Courtyard, outside Reception, grid ref: SJ421824
Start your walk in the courtyard with the buildings behind you, facing out across the maze and the River Mersey. Take the path to the right around the bottom edge of the restaurant.
Follow the estate walk signs that mark the route to the Bund. This runs between the maze and play area and then turns right.
You're now walking along the Bund. This huge earth embankment was built in 1967 to lessen the noise and sight of nearby aircraft, when Liverpool airport moved to the east side of Speke Hall. Enjoy the stunning views out across the River Mersey to Wirral and the Welsh hills.
This section of the river is an estuary and can look very different depending on whether the tide is in or out. It's 3 miles wide at its widest point near Ellesmere Port, narrowing to 0.7 miles (1.1km) wide by the Albert Dock.
Look down to your right and you'll see the Clough. This area of ancient woodland is the oldest part of the estate, dating back to at least 1086, if not earlier. The area was clear felled during the English Civil War to provide wood for the defence of Liverpool.
When you have come to the bottom of the Bund path, turn left and then left again into the field. This section runs around the edge of the field marking the south-western boundary of the estate.
Wildflowers and wildlife
The meadows you walk through in points 5-7 are ideal for spotting some unusual flora and fauna. In July and August, keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful wild pyramidal orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis, in the field at direction point 5. Other seasonal highlights include wild grasses throughout the summer and migratory birds such as finches, warblers and wildfowl during the spring and autumn.
Continue straight on up the edge of the large field to the top of the estate. Halfway along, near the hedgerow that bisects the field, turn around and look behind you. This gives you wonderful views across the Mersey to the Wirral and North Wales, with the Liverpool Yacht Club in the foreground.
At the top of the field turn right. This field that you have been walking around has always been meadowland. In the 1800s it contained a herd of prize-winning short horned cattle but now it's given over to wildflowers.
Follow the pathway to the metal gates that lead onto the main drive. Before you cross over the drive and enter Stockton's Wood via the marked footpath, look straight down to your right and notice the avenue of lime trees. We believe these are around 150 years old, although the route of the drive pre-dates them by many hundreds of years. In spring, this is a riot of daffodils, with three different varieties planted in distinct bands to prolong the display.
The semi-ancient Stockton's Wood largely consists of birch, oak and sweet chestnut trees.
This semi-ancient woodland which you explore towards the end of your walk is managed for its rare invertebrates, birdlife and wildflowers. It mostly consists of birch, oak and sweet chestnut trees. In late spring, look out for bluebells - they're only around for a short time, but are a sight that can't be missed.
The woodland was heavily planted with rhododendron during the Victorian period to act as cover for shooting game. You can still see the remains of a shooting break along this path - the line of Scots pine trees was planted to form a natural barrier for the birds to fly high over. During the Second World War, areas of the woodland were cleared to hide planes that had been shipped over from America.
At the path's end, turn left and cross a small bridge over a ditch. Take the next right and follow the route back to the car park. On this path you'll see another small shooting break on your left.
You're now back in the car park. Please cross carefully and follow the path back to Home Farm.
Home Farm Courtyard, grid ref: SJ421824
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