A Victorian day out – Eastham Country Park

Over 100 years ago, she crossed the river by paddle steamer, paid her three pennies and walked up the steps beneath the towering Jubilee Arch, into the Eastham Ferry Pleasure Gardens.

There she saw entertainers on an open air stage, acrobats performing daring feats in the circus ring and listened to music by the bandstand, surrounded by the beautiful fountains and plants of the gardens.
(Copyright Eastham Country Park Sculpture Trail)

Today it is a ‘just’ a lovely wood that provides the perfect surrounding for an afternoon stroll and is loved by dog owners, families and walkers alike. But when I heard that there are the remnants of an old bear pit (though nothing much else) they certainly had my attention.

There is something very satisfying about an autumn afternoon stroll in the woods. The trees show themselves in their best colours, the air has this particular leafy smell that reminds me of jumping into heaps of leaves as a child, squirrels running around to gather their winter supplies, the light is muted and golden and if you’re lucky you can gather some brambles or sweet chestnuts.

I enjoyed all that, that is after I finally found the entrance. It must be one of the worst signposted parks I’ve been to recently, down to a lack of signs after a certain junction. I basically approached it three times from three different directions and just gave up too soon because I thought it couldn’t be right. You could tell the ‘newbies’ apart from the locals by their slow driving, having a confused and somehow lost look on their face. But I made it and it sure was worth it, so that’s all that counts.

Eastham tree wall

The tree almost seemed to desperately ‘cling’ to the wall.

Eastham woods2

Some majestic trees between the old walls and borders.

Eastham fountain

One of the surviving Victorian fountains.

Eastham bench

Obviously you needed a bench to relax and enjoy the fountain. It looks somewhat Victorian but I’m not sure it is.

Eastham bear pit stairs

Entrance to the bear pit.

Eastham bear pit

This pit was once home of two brown bears and designed to look like a cave. Originally it had a dome of railings over the top to keep the bears in and the people out.

Eastham bear pit2

It was tiny!! Thankfully animals in zoos are kept in bigger and more natural enclosures!

Eastham sweet chestnut

Autumn. Gathering sweet chestnuts reminds me of my childhood. I still can’t resist…

Eastham leaf

Unfortunately it wasn’t quite the ‘Indian summer’, just the wrong kind of trees I suppose.

Eastham tree funghi2

A lot of interesting fungi along the way.

Eastham tree funghi

Fungi everywhere, quite big too.

Eastham tree face

Might be just me, but can you spot the face? More like half a skull or something from The Mummy.

Eastham woods

I just love a good forest.

Eastham cabs

Don’t think they do these kind of signs anymore. Shame really.

Eastham ferry house

The old ferry ticket office is a cafe now. Further down is still the old ferry pier.

Eastham Liverpool skyline

View from the ferry pier towards Liverpool.

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