The Left Bank’s largest - and oldest - park is getting a lot of attention beyond the Left Bank. About time, too, we think.
We’re very proud of our gorgeous Birkenhead park. Even more so since it was included on the UK Tentative List as a potential UNESCO site in April. On Thursday, there’s a drop-in information session at the park’s Visitor Centre between 4 – 7 PM where you can find out what happens next and what a spot on the World Heritage List could bring.
As we wrote when the announcement was made, it’s confirmation of what we on the Left Bank have known for years – that Birkenhead Park isn’t just one of the most beautiful and diverse green spaces across the UK, but an attraction that’s as good – if not better – than any other park around the world.
UNESCO fluttering its eyelashes at us doesn’t happen by chance, though. An incredible amount of hard work has happened behind the scenes at Birkenhead Park to get to this initial stage.
There’s also more to the park than what we see. Community spirit runs as deep as the roots of the trees that have matured over the decades at the People’s Park.
That community character evident throughout Paxton’s masterpiece is as important to UNESCO judges as the flora and the fauna. That’s fostered every day by park workers, volunteers and many others that give up their time not just to maintain it, but help it grow.
That manifests at Birkenhead Park through a number of weekly recurring events designed to help locals blossom. It’s not just a park – it’s a place to help people, make friends, forge new relationships and support each other:
Bored of jogging the same route, listening to the same tunes and podcasts? Birkenhead Park makes for a lovely run, and it can be a nice way to make new friends, too.
Birkenhead Park runs happen every Saturday morning. Volunteer-led, they’re free to join and start at Park Road West (if you sign up too you can get a barcode to check your time at the end). You can go at your own pace, and some stay afterward for a well-deserved coffee and a chat at the Rugby Club.
A great free park activity for expectant families, new parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, carers and others alike who want to meet up and make friends with people sharing similar experiences of parenthood.
Starting at the Visitor Centre, the morning buggy walks are run by pre- and post-natal fitness initiative Movement and Bloom; a local team helping new mums get fit, active and social. Walk through the park and introduce the little ones to the best natural spaces the Left Bank has to offer.
Wheels For All
Birkenhead Park’s fantastic for cycling, but it’s sadly not something everyone is capable of doing. Wheels For All wants to change that – their team aims to help children and adults with disabilities and differing needs get on their bikes.
They do this by providing inclusive cycles such as handcycles, wheelchair transporters and more. The exercises can be taken at your own pace, too. Wheels For All usually happens twice a week, starts and finishes at football changing rooms, and the first session is free. (£5 per person afterward, with supporters and carers free for ever.)
Yoga in the Park
Now the sun’s showing itself, why not get involved with a gentle-flow yoga class surrounded by flowers and flowing water? CG Yoga and Wellness are gathering this Sunday (4 June) at 10 – 11 AM, with following sessions happening every other Sunday.
Yoga in the Park takes place on the grass verge opposite the Visitor Centre, which is where classes also take place if the nice weather takes a turn. It’s open to everyone, whatever level you’re at - suggested donations of £5 are also welcome, with 10% of the proceeds going toward park maintenance.
Birkenhead Park can be a real pick-me-up thanks to its beautiful surroundings. Wellbeing Walks are held twice a week, with anyone of any ability free to join in. Just meet outside the Visitor Centre at 11 AM for a relaxing hour-long stroll.
The walks are run by local health walk leaders, too. This is a key part of the Wellbeing Walks – they aren’t just an opportunity to get out of the house for fresh air, but a great way to talk, meet people and make new friends as you go.
Visitor Centre, Park Drive, Birkenhead, CH41 4HY
(Image - Ryan Warburton)