Region: North West
Port Sunlight River Park has been transformed from a closed landfill site to a 28-hectare park providing a popular community space with an array of walkways, wildlife, wildflowers and a wetlands area. Simply put, it's a place for the public to reap the rewards of the great outdoors!
The park, which opened in 2014, provides visitors with a scenic waterfront and a variety of walks offering visitors stunning views across the Merseyside to Liverpool’s iconic waterfront. A section of wetland to the north of the site, along with River Mersey mud flats is already an important site for large populations of water birds and is a site of special protection.
The current managing partners Autism Together, who manage the park on a day to day basis on behalf of the Land Trust, were later brought in to help realise the Land Trust’s vision to provide a community site that makes a positive difference for local people and visitors, promoting healthy lifestyles in the process.
What is Port Sunlight River Park
The park is made up of a few areas of land. The main area of the park is the surface of the former landfill and in addition – land between the landfill site and the River Mersey, either side of the River Dibbin to the A41 and the Old Courthouse woodland opposite the Village Hotel. The former landfill site is a mound of household and industrial waste that has built into a 37 metre high hill following years of landfill, which provides fabulous views. Under the soils is a capping protection layer which immediately overlies a low permeability plastic cap. Under this plastic is another plastic cap protection layer and under this the waste. The landfill site has been capped and restored with soil between 1-3 metres deep.
Who owns the park?
The Land Trust has a 99 year lease of the surface of the park from Biffa Waste Services Ltd and the edges of the River Mersey and the River Dibbin from Unilever. Biffa Waste Services will continue to manage the on-going liabilities associated with the landfill site and Unilever for the River Dibbin.
What role has Autism Together?
The Land Trust has appointed Autism Together to manage the park on a day to day basis on their behalf. Autism Together employs a Ranger to oversee management of the park and its landscape teams carry out the practical maintenance of the park eg. mowing grass.
How can I get involved and help?
There are opportunities for volunteers to help out around the park every Saturday and Wednesday but additional opportunities exist to help with events, reception, walks and wildlife identification and with the new Friends group. Contact the Ranger for more information by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07857 550 060.
Through regular inspections, we are able to identify and remove any problematic plants from the edges of the official paths. However, we do urge people to ensure they follow our specified guidance of ensuring dogs do not stray away from the public footpaths. If you spot anything, please do let the Ranger know.
Dock Road South, Bromborough, Wirral, Merseyside, CH62 4LN
Site size: 28 hectares
All year round. Dawn to Dusk. Car park closes at 4pm October to March; 6pm April to September.
Parking for 10 cars. Additional parking available on Dock Road North.
Monday to Saturday.
(click here to find the nearest public toilets)
No but picnic benches in two areas.
Two disabled parking spaces in accessible car park. Additional disabled parking available by arrangement. All paths well surfaced. Flat routes available. Accessible paths shown on interpretation at entrance. Pedestrian entrance at Shorefields is via two flights of steps.
All paths well surfaced. Flat routes available. Accessible paths shown on interpretation at entrance. Pedestrian entrance at Shorefields is via two flights of steps.
Yes but need to be under close control and stay on paths.
Magnificent views. Watch ships on Mersey and at the dock, bird watching, sculptures, events programme, cycle hub, cycle, geocache trail.
A section of wetland to the north of the site, along with River Mersey mud flats is already an important site for large populations of water birds and is a site of special protection.
Port Sunlight Village, Museum and Lady Lever Art Gallery; Wirral Circular Trail, Bromborough Pool Village.
This former landfill site had become a community eyesore, looming over the A41 and visible from the historic Port Sunlight village, and restricting public access. Previous uses of the site created a mental and physical barrier between neighbourhoods and restricted access to the waterfront and all associated benefits, including stunning views across the Mersey and rich habitats for an assortment of wildlife.
The Land Trust – which has extensive experience in taking over brownfield sites and converting them into public green spaces – approached Biffa about taking a 99-year surface lease when the landfill reached the end of its 15-year operating life in 2006. Its intention was to transform the former landfill site into a wide open public space for the local community and visitors to enjoy all the benefits of being outdoors on a site with rich potential.
The project was supported by Wirral Borough Council, MP Alison McGovern and the Forestry Commission, who identified a large proportion of the funding and invited the Land Trust in to carry the restoration and long term management of the site. The Land Trust then secured further land from Unilever and long term funding from Biffa Award, UK Waste Services and the English Woodland Grant Scheme to ensure there was legacy funding available and to maintain the site in the future.
From the beginning the emphasis was on working hand in hand with the community and local residents, businesses, MP Alison McGovern and Wirral Borough Council. They have been a vital source of support for the restoration throughout and those strong relationships have been retained as the Land Trust looks to continue to not only maintain but look at ways of enhancing the river park for the benefit of the public.
Work at the park has taken advantage of the 37 metre mound (half a metre higher than Liverpool Cathedral) so the 28 hectare park now offers stunning views across the river to the Liverpool waterfront and the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mound is visible from most of the immediate surroundings and is visually dominant from Liverpool and from Rock Ferry Esplanade, so its transformation has dramatically improved the visual appearance of the whole area.
A major focus of the works was to improve access, including a new site entrance from Dock Road north, a link to Shorefields and access to the coastline to connect the communities of Port Sunlight, Bromborough and New Ferry with the River Mersey. The landfill site used to act as a barrier between the communities and the coast – so the river park has now opened up access to the coast for the first time in a generation.
The park also provides visitors with a scenic waterfront and a perimeter walk, and an area of salt marsh to the north is already an important area for large populations of water birds and is a site of special protection.
To contact the Land Trust about this site or how we could help manage your space please email our Estates Manager Sarah Palgrave-Neath or call 07795 126687
This site has received the following awards:
The Land Trust has made the shortlist for the Business Green Leaders Awards for its work on Port Sunlight River Park.
The site has been shortlisted in the Ecosystem Project of the Year category.
The BusinessGreen Leaders Awards bring together over 600 executives, entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, and campaigners to celebrate the green economy’s most exciting and innovative achievements from the past 12 months.
Port Sunlight River Park was shortlisted for the Echo Environment ‘Neighbourhood Improvement Project Award’.
The green-focused awards, organised by the Liverpool Echo in association with United Utilities, have been established to recognise the best environmental businesses, schools, community, projects and individuals.
Previously a landfill site hemmed off from the community, the site was transformed and opened to the public in 2014 by the Land Trust. The park has since gone from strength to strength, becoming a popular destination for residents and visitors and haven for wildlife, managed by Autism Together on behalf of the Land Trust.
Port Sunlight River Park received ‘Highly Commended’ in the North West ‘Regeneration’ category of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards 2016, which is the category showcasing “exceptional improvements to urban, rural and coastal areas”.
We are always on the look out for enthusiastic, committed people who want to make a real and lasting difference in their local community.Get Involved