Maghull – More on its challenging land drainage issues

My posting of a few days ago (see link below) regarding the consequences of heavy rain locally was picked up by our local Champion newspaper and in turn a resident contacted me with regard for the potential of flooding in the future associated with Whinney Brook/Dovers Brook.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/02/24/maghull-heavy-rain-reminds-us-of-the-potential-peril-of-building-on-agricultural-land-locally/

To explain I’ve taken a few photos of where 3 brooks/streams combine yards away from the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail on the western edge of the Town:-

Cheshire Lines Path crossing Dovers Brook & looking towards Meadway/ Old Racecourse Road

Footbridge across Dovers Brook where it is joined by Whinney Brook at the far corner of the Maghull High School site.

The confluence of Whinney Brook and Dovers Brook as seen from the blue bridge in the 2nd photo. Whinney Brook crosses Maghull east to west.

Another confluence just few yards further back up Dovers Brook – the stream on the left has come down from behind Fouracres.

The photos above were taken after the recent floodwaters had subsided on 29th February. There are of course other tributary streams joining Dovers Brook and eventually about two thirds of a mile north of the 1st photo Dovers Brook spills into the River Alt.

Looking back towards Bridges Lane and Sefton Church from the confluence of Dovers Brook and the River Alt. This photo is from 2013

Having said that the problem, faced at times of heavy rain, is the long-standing one of the Alt being too high for Dovers Brook to empty into it, which in turn backs up Dovers Brook to flood. As I’ve said previously, there’s nothing new about this problem it’s just that we see it happening more often these days. The next photo shows what happens when things get really bad:-

A flooded Bridges Lane between Dovers Brook and the River Alt – when it all got too much in December 2015

The purpose of this posting has been to try to illustrate the problems on the western side of Maghull due to its low lying land and the drainage system that, other than in flood conditions, keeps in drained. The worry of the resident who contacted me most recently is that with future rainfall expected to more regular and even heavier will the Maghull area suffer bigger flooding events especially as more agricultural land is built upon (as part of Sefton Council’s Local Plan) which presently soaks up much of the rainwater.

Of course I’m no drainage engineer or climatologist but you won’t be surprised that I share such worries……..

Lydiate/Great Altcar Footpath Mystery

I’ve been trying to find the public footpath that starts (or finishes) at the junction of Bells Lane/Altcar Lane* right on the boundary of Lydiate and Great Altcar. It runs from this point in a southwesterly direction over the Cheshire Lines/Trans Pennine Trail footpath/cycle path and then on via Showicks Bridge to Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve.

Actually, it’s just the short section of it from Bells Lane/Altcar Lane to the Cheshire Lines Path that I’m trying to trace because when I travel along the CLP I can’t find it at all. Below is a photo of the general area of the CLP that I’m referring to and the footpath should cross it just a few yards to the north of the concrete posts according to the Ordnance Survey map that I have:-

The concrete posts denote where a farmer’s track crosses the CLP (although on the right-hand side it is clearly out of use – note the fencing) and I think the path should cross it more or less where the large tree is.

I’ve raised the matter with West Lancashire Borough Council’s Footpaths Officer to see if they can shine any light on the matter.

If any local walkers or indeed Maghull Ramblers can assist with this mystery please do so…..

* The starting/finishing point which I refer to used to be through Upper Gore Farm but that was redeveloped for housing some years ago and it’s now called Mercer Court.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine trail through West Lancashire

It’s many years now since the Cheshire Lines Path was created on the trackbed of the old Cheshire Lines and Southport Extension Railway and of course it subsequently became a part of the Trans Pennine Trail.

Sadly the part of the Path/Trail through the Great Altcar part of West Lancashire has not been maintained and the surface is now rough and narrow considering that it is for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The photo above illustrates one particular part of the path where agricultural vehicles regularly cross over it – this particular site is the extension to Cabin Lane off Altcar Lane in Great Altcar. After the recent heavy rain it’s a horrible muddy mess for walkers and cyclists.

Yes I know austerity will have played into the lack of maintenance but in reality the decline in the surface well predates the financial crash. In terms of cycle riding areas of the path are now only really suitable for mountain bikes in my view. I fear that if something is not done reasonably soon this long distance path is going to be compromised such that folks will stop using it especially in the winter months.

I have made my views known to those who have responsibility for the path in the hopes of some plan to redress the decline.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

My thanks to Champion Newspapers for publishing an article based on this blog posting on 7th February

Lydiate/Maghull – Their former Cheshire Lines railway stations

A close up of Lydiate Signal Box

I have blogged about the isolated former Lydiate railway station before but to recap it was not even in Lydiate Civil Parish but just over the border in Altcar Civil Parish off Carr Lane*. It closed on 7th January 1952 and all trace of it has effectively gone. Interestingly though Lydiate does have a Station Road which joins Southport Road adjacent to the Scotch Piper Pub and does eventually lead to the former station.

Lydiate Station sat on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway and the tracks were lifted after June 1960. The station site is still accessible though as it is on the Trans Pennine Trail/Cheshire Lines Path and the station site is one of the access/parking points on the footpath/cycle path. Here are a couple of signs that have been placed on the station site:-

I bet there are folks still around who can recall getting the train from Lydiate Station to Southport or indeed Liverpool. Indeed, when I moved into Sefton Lane, Maghull in 1968 an elderly couple next door would tell me of their travelling by train from the former Sefton and Maghull Station on the same line. That station has also gone now although the platforms were still there in 1968 – it’s all now part of Sefton Lane Industrial Estate. Then around 1970 I met a chap called Jack Petty who taught at Ormonde Drive Secondary Modern School (now Maghull High); he was my form teacher. He told stories of using the railway after the war to get from his Southport home to work in Maghull and how he was often the only person on the train and the station staff at Sefton & Maghull made him a brew each morning when he got off the train.

Memories…….

*Altcar Civil Parish was split as a consequence of local government reorganisation in 1974 and the part in West Lancashire is now called Great Altcar Civil Parish – The part in Sefton Borough is called Little Altcar Civil Parish and its the most southernmost part of what most folks will think of as Formby.

Maghull – Volunteers requested to assist Sustrans on Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine trail at Meadow Site behind Sefton Drive

Time for a sit down. Theses seats were put in in the past few weeks, by volunteers, on the Meadow Site behind Sefton Drive on the Cheshire Lines Path in Maghull.

Call for assistance from volunteer group:-

On Sunday the 14th May 2017 Staff and volunteers of Sustrans and the Trans Pennine Trail will be attending the Meadow site in Maghull.

There are various activities taking place through the day and you are invited to come along to the project site. We have been awarded funding to transform this area of land from a misused, overgrown stretch of path into an area that will be of benefit to the community, path users and also the wildlife of the area. Over the past year, we have cleared a large majority of the brambles and overgrowth, installed benches, begun to install bird and bug houses and scattered wildflower seeds. In preparation for the 14th May, we have ordered 500 wildflower plants ready to be planted on the site. This is your opportunity to come along, visit and discuss the project… take away some information… and if you can, lend a hand! Please also take this opportunity to walk or cycle along the this area of the Cheshire Lines (NCN 62/Trans Pennine Trail)… It’s a beautiful and amazing resource that we have in our area!

Feel free to pop along at any point through the day

Timing for the day:

10am onwards – Scything, raking and clearing the ground in preparation for planting will continue throughout the day. Bring a rake along and help us clear the ground of the spring overgrowth

1-3pm – Wildflower planting, publicity stand and kids activities.

Refreshments:

Sefton Meadows Garden Centre and Cafe are in close proximity to the site area.

Clothing:

If you are attending to participate in any of the raking, clearing and planting, please wear suitable clothing, sturdy footwear and gardening gloves.

Location:

Cheshire Lines/TPT – back of Sefton Drive, Maghull L31 8AQ

Any support that can be offered is always greatly appreciated, but if you do have any questions or require any further information… please do not hesitate to email me…

Thanks for your time and hope to see you soon

John Callaghan

E: jc@photoreal.co.uk
M: 07713158716
W: Merseyside North Volunteers merseysidenorth.uk

Lydiate Station – Closed 7th July 1952 but still open for walkers, cycles and horses

From Cheshire Lines Railway Estate Plans. I understand Cheshire Record Office holds them.

Now part of the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail its hard to believe that Lydiate once had its own railway station on the Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway.

www.disused-stations.org.uk/l/lydiate/

Disused Stations Site Record has the info’ and a couple of interesting ‘then and now’ photos on Lydiate’s long lost railway station – see link above, which was not even in the Civil Parish of Lydiate but in Altcar.

Here are a few additional photos I have also come across/purchased/taken of the old station.

Lydiate Signal Box

Lydiate – Chesire Lines – a closer view

A close up of Lydiate Signal Box

The Valentine family on Lydiate Station 1939

Site of Lydiate Station – Cheshire Lines

Present day signage information at the old station site.

Click on any any of the photos to enlarge them

Thanks to Antony Graham for the historic site plan at the head of this posting