Summer on the River

river-mersey-summer-2017

One of the great things about summer is the chance to get out and explore some unfamiliar areas on a run. So for 2017 why not explore the river with me and see what summer has to offer on both sides of our famous river?

Liverpool’s situation on the banks of the River Mersey makes for some excellent flat runs along the water’s edge on both sides of the estuary, so if you are new to Liverpool and fancy something a little different then why not for example think about a running tour in… Birkenhead!

On the south bank of the river the suburbs of the city are large and green and have a fascinating history in their own right. The main town of Birkenhead is easily reached by the underground rail system (the world’s first electrified underwater rail line), or by the Mersey Ferry and from here are smooth, flat promenades that run along the river edge. For the runner these are quieter stretches than on the Liverpool side but uniquely have the advantage of amazing views of the Liverpool skyline and waterfront which is arguably the best in the UK.

From Birkenhead town centre it is possible to have an easy 3km run north into Birkenhead Park which is a very attractive space and the world’s first municipal park. It has been the official start of the Liverpool Marathon on a number of occasions and you then have the excitement if running through one of the road tunnels to reach Liverpool – an experience which we can’t reproduce on a run tour I’m afraid but is a real experience! Alternatively you can stick to the river bank and run along Egremont promenade, following the route of the well-established 10km tunnel run race and head towards the seaside neighbourhood of New Brighton with its lighthouse, Napoleonic fort and great views out into Liverpool Bay.

Heading south along the river is trickier on the Birkenhead side as much of this area is industrial but for those of you who don’t mind urban running and interested in industrial archeology, economic development, heritage and social history, there is plenty to talk about. A 20km run would give a good chance to head out as far as the ancient village of Eastham and see the widest point of the Mersey and even the entrance to the Manchester Ship Canal.

On the Liverpool side there is so much also to see and do, especially on some of the longer runs, and running south gives you the opportunity to head past the new Liverpool Arena, Exhibition Centre and out towards the modern planting and beautiful landscaping of Festival Gardens around 6km south of the city centre. For the really adventurous, keep on running and we can even reach the stunning edgelands of Speke and Hale villages with incredible views over the estuary to Wales, fields, hedgerows, woods… and grab the a well-earned pint and a train back if our legs need a break!

So step into summer, lace-up and enjoy the incredible history and landscapes of Liverpool and its famous river Mersey!