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Sefton Village and the Meadows Walk

Punch Bowl, Lunt Road, Sefton Village, Liverpool, Merseyside, L29 7WA

Tel: +44 (0)1704 533333

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Punch Bowl and St. Helens Church


The circular walk of some four km (2.5 miles) starts at the Punch Bowl Inn, with its excellent food, drink and toilet facilities at the very centre of historic Sefton village, and is generally level throughout.

Like Maghull on the other side of the River Alt, Sefton’s name reflects its geographical location and in Old Norse means the ‘hamlet where the rushes/reeds grow’. Sefton was well established before registration in the Domesday Book, when it was listed as ‘Sextone’.

The Molyneux family held the manor of Sefton from the 12th century right up to 1972, when the last Earl died. The moat of the old hall is still visible as scrub-covered wetland opposite the imposing Church of St. Helen, Sefton’s only Grade I listed building. The church has great historical importance because of its association with the Molyneux family. An 18th century estate map shows a small hamlet of a dozen buildings grouped around the church and several interesting buildings still remain.

From the Punch Bowl car park (OS Ref: 335401) turn right along Lunt Road until a footpath sign is reached at a vehicle barrier. Directly opposite, set back 10 metres from the road, is St. Helen’s Well which, nowadays is capped by an inscribed stone.

St. Helen’s Well used to be much more important than is apparent today. Its water is icy cold and reputed to be ‘very good for rheumatism, strains, bruises and weaknesses of the nerves’. Wells were once greatly respected and sanctified places before the advent of clean fresh water on tap and they were often decorated on holy days with flowers and boughs of trees.Turning right at the footpath sign takes us along a track, which crosses Harrison’s Brook in 300 metres and continues to reach a wooden footbridge and the site of the former landfill site, now extensively replanted with native trees as part of the Mersey Forest Initiative. The landscape improvements have already meant that many more bird species now nest in the area, including the secretive Grasshopper Warbler, whose strange reeling song sounds like a fishing reel or
a freewheeling bicycle.

Walk through the plantations to reach the metal service bridge over the Alt. Do not cross the bridge, but instead turn left along the path following the Alt on an embankment until you reach Showrick Bridge. The extensive meadows and rich farmland extends many miles to the north and large flocks of Lapwings, Curlews and Golden Plovers can be seen in winter.

The Environment Agency has plans to relieve flooding on the Alt and the increasing pressure on its pumping stations, by allowing some of the fields in this area to flood naturally when necessary. This will turn some of the fields back to marshes and meadows, increase both wildlife and biodiversity, reduce the risk of flooding and cost less money.

From the bridge turn half left and then right to reach Moor Lane, which used to be an important route crossing the Alt, as shown on early 19th century maps. On reaching Harrison’s Brook we turn left to follow the ditch back to connect with our original route at the bridge, where we turn right to regain Lunt Road and the Punch Bowl car park.


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