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Around and about Ince Blundell

Start: Weld Blundell Arms, Scaffold Lane, Liverpool, Merseyside, L38 1QA

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Around and about Ince Blundell

About

Ince Blundell is a rural parish close to the floodplain of what was once the tidal River Alt and the surrounding low-lying land is often flooded in winter by the River Alt. There are now plans to allow planned flooding in the area, creating a large wetland, which will not only help with avoiding the effects of unplanned floods, but also create valuable habitat for flora and fauna…so we all benefit.

Ince Blundell Hall was built in 1729 to replace the 15th century Old Hall, the current building is now a nursing home. Until 1959, when Col. Joseph Weld moved to Dorset, there was a very fine art collection housed in the classically designed Pantheon attached to the hall. Most of the collection is now on display in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

The brick wall surrounding the estate was built between 1770 and 1776 and has several ornate gateways, the most impressive of which is the Lion Lodge Gate, copied from a detail of a painting in the family art collection, ‘The Marriage of Bacchus and Ariadne’, by Sebastian Ricci circa 1690.

Our walk around the Ince Blundell woodland and estate begins at either the Weld Blundell or the Harvester pub directly opposite, on the A565 (OS Ref 331403), where patrons may park their cars, and is about 6.4 km (4 miles) in length.

Turning left out of the car park along Lady Green Lane after 400 metres, we turn left into Carr House Lane, where Carr Houses is soon reached. This cluster of dwellings is now a conservation area on the edge of the River Alt’s flood plain. The Norse word ‘kjarr’, from which carr derives, means boggy land covered in willow scrub, which would have been the case when the cottages were built.

Turning right at Carr Houses takes us down Hall Lane for 500 metres, where we turn left through the grounds of Keeper’s Cottage to enter Keeper’s Wood at a gateway. The way marked path first turns right then left to exit the wood as a field edge path with a drainage ditch on your right. After 130 metres turn sharply left, still with the ditch on your right, to reach the end of Carr House Lane at Searchlight Plantation.

Turn right here with Searchlight Plantation on your left, so named when a searchlight battery was stationed here in WWII, and then crossing a footbridge we turn right again back towards Carr Side Farm and its herd of white Charolais cattle, which graze the pastures here in summer. The tree-lined Carr Side Lane brings us back to Park Wall Road, where we turn right.

After 300 metres a white painted cross on the wall marks the position of a medieval wayside cross. Funeral processions used to halt at these crosses for rest and prayer, when en route to Sefton Church with the corpse for burial.

Several ponds and pits alongside the road and the large lake in the park itself were excavated for the clay to make the bricks for the estate wall. The Ince Blundell Estate, with its mature trees, is a haven for birdlife, especially woodpeckers and the locally scarce Nuthatch.

Continue past the junction with Hall Lane, with North Lodge on your left until you reach a dirt track on the left, Cross Barn Lane, which is an access road to Home Farm. Taking this track you soon turn right on to a footpath over open fields to Victoria Road, which leads us through Ince Blundell village to Lady Green Lane and past the well stocked Lady Green Garden Centre, to the start of our walk at the Weld Blundell or Harvester pub car park.

Refreshments and toilet facilities are available at both of these establishments.

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