Dee Estuary to Hilbre Island
Hilbre Island, Merseyside
A two-mile walk across the sand from West Kirby, the Dee Estuary is an oasis of wildlife.
Shut off from the mainland by the tide for five hours in every 12, it’s no surprise that Hilbre Island was a favourite stop-off for smugglers in the 18th and 19th centuries. At least that’s what the rumours say. Nowadays, it’s more famous for its wildlife – grey seals, oyster catchers, curlews and sometimes kestrels – who’ve made the Dee Estuary their home.
It’s about a two-mile walk across the sand from West Kirby, which takes around an hour (longer if you’ve got youngsters in tow), so be sure to allow enough time to get there and back before high tide. Otherwise you’ll be stuck on Hilbre for five long hours. Mind you, there’s plenty to do; why not pack a picnic and head to a hide to watch storm petrals – it’s one of the best places in the country to see them.