Side Quests: Birkenhead 2021

Updated: Sep 27







It's shit.







 

No, but seriously.

"Hear me out"


*sigh* Birkenhead is just one of those places. I've been visiting the place all my life (because it's mainly been one of the closest places to shop for essentials) and it has NEVER changed. In recent years, the high street has been dying a slow and agonising death, which has resulted in a dramatic decrease in customer traffic, but in addition, it means more (utterly) shit shops have opened up to test the market. When I say that, I refer to phone repair shops, fidget toy shops and vape shops. Truly magical stuff.

After working there for 5 years, I can safely say there's never a day that went by that was normal. I just feel bad for the tourists (who visit Liverpool) to feel pressured to visit the Wirral and their first stop is Birkenhead. Honestly, I've served so many tourists and they always display a unique type of regret exclusive to performing such an illegal form of choice that lead them to such a place.

Okay, let's start this again.


Birkenhead Park

"The only part worth talking about"


Interestingly, beyond all logic, Birkenhead has one of the nicest Merseyside parks. How this is possible, or legal, is beyond me. This bewilderment is evident when comparing it against the soulless hellscape outside of the park.

Okay, positive thoughts, Kieran...

The park itself is actually gorgeous. Not only is it well maintained, it also has plenty of wildlife living within it. Sure, as far as I know, not all of it is exotic but it is always pleasant to enter an area with life. Often, in Britain, you'll find a lot of parks lack variety in wildlife species, but 'Birko' Park has quite a bit going on and warrants a lovely day out observing the local wildlife. Not only are there friendly squirrels, but there's even some species of Cormorant to be spotted, along with the common drunk, piss stained human in a bush. Truly magical stuff. Nah, that's happened once or twice, but it's not too common and you just take it as it goes I guess.


In the summer, the park is gorgeous. Plenty of different flowers can be seen everywhere, birds of various species take over the skies (and waters), and the squirrels are out in full force. I've got to be honest, I'd happily consider this park to be one of the most pleasant parks to walk around in the summer. Birkenhead, along with many British parks, have a painful habbit of attracting children/ families who just destroy all semblance of peace, BUT this can easily be tackled with the power of... curving paths. Yes, the park has plenty of these which block out (some) noise from other paths. Not many parks I know implement this, but Birkenhead Park does and it can help make every path you go down feel like your own. This I like.

According to history, Birkenhead Park is the first publicly-funded park in the world, but also influenced the design of New York's Central Park. Birkenhead was an industrial powerhouse a century (or 2) ago, but required a bit of green space to keep locals happy in a growing industrial world. There's actually some cool history to look into about Birkenhead during the industrial years.

Anyway, almost like symetry, New York was facing a similar problem which pushed the growing city to also need a patch of land to host a park of grand stature. Of all the designs submitted, which could have been submitted by anyone at the time, one was submitted by a fan of Birkenhead Park, which eventually won as the most attractive design to follow. The plan didn't just copy Birkenhead Park, but adapted key aspects, such as; the designs of the bridges, overall path layouts and lake placements. I have to say, when walking through Central Park, it honestly felt oddly familiar to a degree. It even had a piss stained drunk in a bush.

 

In The Autumn

"The park at it's peak"

Wha- what the actual heck? Birkenhead can somehow peak in quality around Autumn time? Honestly, that's just how nice this park can be. The seasons really help enhance this park (at times). Autumn just so happens to be the most colourful season, meaning the leaves invade the floor space, different species of bird venture out and it's too cold for 'piss-stained Joe' to sleep in that bush.


I forgot to mention, one of

the most iconic parts of

the park has to be the red, Swiss Bridge. The structure stands out in all seasons and is the most pleasant area of the entire park. Not only does it add personality to the park, but it also helps to make that part of the park stand out from other parts.

Alongside this, I find the flora to be more appealing. Colourful leaves, holly bushes and awesome, pink flowers (I don't know the name of) exist. Wow, I really can write, can't I? Anyway, of all the parks I have visited in autumn, Birkenhead Park has to be one of my favourites for how amazing it can look.

No, I haven't swapped cameras between the summer and autumn pictures. I'm still using my Samsung Galaxy S10 5G for these images, and the colours just so happen to stand out/ enhance during this season. My phone's trusty camera really shines here, and I'm so happy to see the colours pop out in such a way. Not a lot of editing was applied, if I'm honest. No filters, just simple touch ups on some areas and that's it.

However, I do have to point out I'm planning to return here with my newer camera. It is my mission to take better pictures of the wildlife here, since I was using my phone's camera the last 2 times I visited. Now that I have a Nikon Coolpix B600, the extra zoom should help me focus on capturing amazing shots of the wildlife here. I look forward to it!

Another thing, cycling around the park is always a joy. It's big enough to gain some speed and rarely too busy to ruin your time there. It's also pretty easy to cycle to on the roads, thankfully.

So yeah, if you happen to be staying on the Wirral, I'd recommend visiting the park for a few hours. There's a play area for kids, but honestly, most local kids are devil children who appreciate a charming squirrel hunt. Birkenhead kids are just like that. Besides that, it's definitely a great place to take it easy. If you're a tourist, definitely visit and learn about it's history. If you already live on the Wirral, you've very likely already visited and agree it can be nice most of the year.

I can't say I have much interest to photograph and document what's outside of the park. The shopping area and cinema are where I visit the most, but to photograph the area would be weird,a nd any other areas I'd just rather not take my expensive phone and camera to. I don't even cycle to Birkenhead unless necessary. The park is the only place I see beauty in this area of Wirral.


YES, PARK GOOD