Pier Head to Hale 12 miles (not including the 3.5 miles if you do not get the 82 bus)
This is a straight forward walk with little incline. However, do not do as I did which is to set off in summer walking shoes. The sole did not provide sufficient protection from the gravel cycle path. It is hard walking surface nearly the whole way and your feet take a real pounding. Be prepared!
• At Pier Head turn left and start walking past the ferry terminal on the promenade
• Enter the Albert Dock and make your way over the swing bridge to the river wall to start this walk. Turn left - south - and walk down the river wall. As you near the end of the Albert Dock buildings you see the Liverpool Echo Arena ahead.
• Continue along the riverside past the Arena. On your left you can see the two cathedrals, while breaking the skyline a little further is the prominent redbrick tower above Robert Cain's brewery. Continue towards Customs House.
• As you arrive in front of the Customs building you see that it straddles part of Queen's Dock. Past the Customs building is a watersports centre,
• Pass more residential developments and arrive, finally, at Brunswick: a real dock entrance. This used to be the southernmost entrance for large vessels although it has been halved in width to minimise water loss as only small craft now pass through. Continue over this second blanked-off entrance and pass through steel gates ...
• Carry on past the former Herculaneum and Harrington dock entrances, with street furniture from when the docks were active.
• Head towards the Britannia Inn, a modern pub serving food, with tables outside offering river views.
• Continue south past the Britannia. We are now passing the site of the Liverpool Garden Festival along Otterspool Promenade. There is a large red Sitting bull statue. Eventually you reach a cast-iron fingerpost pointing inland to St Michael's station.
• St Michael's Hamlet is a historic village, now well inside Liverpool's boundary. The world's first cast-iron church is to be found here,
• The promenade ends with a path leading inland. We must take this though we will be reappearing on the promenade clearly visible a little further south, having walked through Grassendale.
• Walk up into the trees and turn right at the road.
• Take the left at the next junction and continue until you come to a set of park gates on your right.
• Enter Grassendale Park here and head slightly downhill, back towards the river.
• On reaching the river, turn left and admire the riverfront houses in this quiet park yet so close to Garston docks.
• Pass South Road towards a footpath.
• Enter Cressington Park.
• Turn up any of the three roads in the park, as they all lead to Cressington Park station and Aigburth Road (A561). Cross over the road from St Mary’s Church and you can get the number 82 bus to Estuary Business Park (20 minutes).
You could walk this section but its 3.5 miles along a dual carriageway with very little to see a part from partial views of Garston Docks. Friendly locals were happy to help us with directions and they all said get the 82 bus!!!
You will see the New Mersey Retail Park on you left and the Crown Plaza on your right. Get off the bus cross the road and turn right on to Estuary Boulevard. Walk straight down towards the river. Where the road turns right and becomes Garston Shore Road carry on across the grass on unmarked but worn paths. There did not appear to be any signs for the Mersey Way but walk towards the green fence on your left. Go through the break in the fence and continue right towards the river. You will see a small boat yard with a slipway. Go in front of this and turn left/east.
Ignore the red lines which appear around this area as this is the Speke Garston Reserve circular walk which also goes through the grounds of Speke Hall. However you cannot see Speke Hall from the Mersey Way. If you can see it you have gone the wrong way.
Walk east with the airport to you left and the river close on the right. Follow the Oglet shore parallel to the runways of John Lennon Airport. This path is in a poor state of repair. It is overgrown and it’s easier to get on to the sand to make quicker progress if the tide is out. The bad signage, the overgrown paths and the littered shore spoil what is essentially a rural area between the airport and the river. Turn left at Hale Head lighthouse (no longer operating as a lighthouse) going inland through Hale village in order to avoid Decoy Marsh.