The Friends of Hilbre Newsletter 
Volume 1, Issue 29 - Online version

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Open Days.
Plan Your Visit.
How to Join.
MIU Events.
Volunteers' Work.

Inside this issue:
AGM Report.
Join the Volunteers.
Student's Report.
Task Report.
Mobile Information Unit Report.
For Your Interest
Safety Notice.

Archived Newsletters



The Friends of Hilbre re:
Membership Forms,
General information,
Volunteers Work: Tasks, Open Days, Seal Watching, Mobile Information Unit

Tides and Information
Hilbre Islands Local Nature Reserve Ranger: 0151 1632 4455

Wirral Country Park Ranger Service 0151 648 4371/3884

North Wirral Coastal Park 0151 678 5488

Metropolitan Borough of Wirral Web Site:

If anyone has information, or photographs, or postcards regarding Hilbre from the past and would like to share them please contact:

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Chairman's AGM Report

Chairman Allen Burton with Hilbre Ranger Dave Cavanagh

On Wednesday 27th May we held our 8th AGM in a new venue, the United Reformed Church Hall, Meols Drive. The meeting was well attended. We dealt quickly and efficiently with the business of the evening, last year’s minutes, accounts, reports and the election of officers.

The standing committee was re-elected en bloc. One important change was that Sue Craggs stood down from the Treasurer’s post. We have since then been able to replace her with Mr Martin Rushworth. Sue will continue to be part of the committee and has taken on the role of Assistant Treasurer; we thank her for all her hard work taking care of our accounts over the last year.

We made use of the kitchen facilities and light refreshments were enjoyed. After the interval, Professor John Huthnance spoke on the subject of ‘Marine Science in Liverpool’. An interesting and in depth overview of the work carried out by his department.

We look forwards to seeing more of you over the next year.

Allen Burton

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 Join The Volunteers

If you would like to try something new, why don’t you come and join us as a volunteer. This is the time of year that there are a wide range of activities that you can choose from. You may enjoy helping to staff the Mobile Information Unit at West Kirby, or the Interpretative Centre on Hilbre Island. You could participate in Seal Watch duties (training required) or you may like to take part in the more physical tasks such as bracken pulling, painting and walling.

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Student's Report

This year up to three students at a time will be staying in the Buoy Master’s Complex of buildings for the duration of the summer. Here we will live, eat and sleep for the majority of our stay (excluding shore leave whenever cabin fever starts to set in).

While the facilities are basic with no flushing toilet and limited drinking water, the house certainly could not be called unwelcoming with an open fire to heat the main living area, oak floors and a basic kitchen fit for providing us with the copious amounts of tea we require to get us through the day. While it is a charming place to rest and eat, the work itself ranges from the old slipway on the north end of Hilbre over the sands to Little Eye in the south. The tasks vary from day to day but there are certain staples of the Hilbre diet; litter picking is one, although the vast majority of people who visit put their rubbish in their pocket or bag there will always be the odd bottle or wrapper that is left or washed up in the tide.

An ongoing project this year is the removal of the majority of the bracken from Heather Brow where the vociferousness of the former could quickly force a name change to ‘Bracken Brow’. The work seems futile when you glance over at the vast swathes of the stuff, yet at the end of a few hours the evidence of your efforts is noticeable.

At the moment we are waiting on the delivery of our blue Coastal Warden uniforms, as although we are glad to assist people when and where we can, the addition of a recognisable uniform would make us more easily recognisable and approachable for the public. In conjunction with this we have been presented with some literature on the Island’s wildlife, particularly the population of Grey Seals, and a little of the Island’s history which we look forward to unleashing upon the general public in due course. There are also lots of odd jobs to attend to for example monitoring the composting toilets or providing water for the islands two Manx Loghtan sheep.

Kathryn and Ciaran were proud of the new gate they hung in the sheep paddock.

Some of the larger projects we undertook included hanging a new gate in the sheep paddock behind the World War 2 bunker, and the exploration of the two Victorian wells outside the Buoy Master’s buildings. Though the work can at times be hard, the whole experience makes a pleasant change from the everyday world even though you may miss out on news from ‘the real world’.

In our spare time there is plenty to do; swimming, reading, rockpooling, and twitching all have their place, yet one of the most relaxing is to simply sit on the rocks and watch the tide come in, weather permitting of course.

Ciaran Dickenson, Alison Nicholls and Kathryn Holmberg.

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Task Day Report


A happy group of our members combined with a few volunteers from the Wirral Countryside Volunteers to work on the Island on Saturday, June 27th.  We have held this event in previous years with some success. It usually attracts a good number of volunteers and this was the case again this year.  The amount of work a group of 15 people can get through in a day is impressive.  The retaining wall was extended on the western side.   The tide of bracken was pushed back in various spots around the Island.  Litter was collected. Walls were painted. 


A good day's work was enjoyed (I think that's the right word) by all.   This is the one day in our calendar when the workers actually get some reward.  They were treated to a free lunch.   Yes, we all know the old saying and it is true.  What I should have said was that they all earned a "free" lunch provided by the committee on behalf of you all as a small Thank You for the work done by Friends of Hilbre throughout the year. 

Allen Burton

Editor’s note: A special thank you to Barbara Burton from all of us for preparing such a wonderful lunch.

Mobile Information Unit Volunteers

Mayor Andrew Hodson and his wife with Val and Barbara.

Members have staffed the Rangers’ MIU five times this year; we also attended the History Fair in Wirral Museum, Birkenhead and the Friends of Ashton Park Fair, West Kirby. Val and Barbara represented The Friends of Hilbre at St. Bridget’s Church Fair on 27th June which was, as usual, a great success. This is a fun event, the Mayor of Wirral, Andrew Hodson, opened the fair - which is a traditional fair catering for all tastes.

Entertainment was provided by local children maypole dancing, country dancing, a Punch and Judy show, a brass band and a raptor rescue group showed their birds. Guided trips up the church tower were available, the Hogback stone could be seen in the church and the Charles Dawson Brown Museum was open. Stalls abounded with home made produce, bric-a-brac and plants and there were home made refreshments in the community hall. A truly traditional fair! Thank you St. Bridget’s for inviting us again.

It is important to show the local community that there is an active Friends group for Hilbre because we do not have a ‘mainland’ base as a point of contact. The Friends of Hilbre members on duty at the MIU or other events, together with our display boards, information leaflets and sale items, provide information about Hilbre Island and our work, encourage new memberships and also help to raise funds.

Volunteering opportunities are still available on these dates:
MIU, Dee Lane,West Kirby: Sunday 30th August.
MIU, Hoylake Lifeboat Day: Monday 31st August.
MIU, Dee Lane, West Kirby: Sunday 30thSeptember.
MIU, Dee Lane, West Kirby: Sunday 11th October.
Friends of Ashton Park & Chamber of Commerce & Community Christmas Fair: Saturday 5thDecember.

For further information please e-mail Val or Barbara at

For Your Interest

This newsletter is available by e-mail only.

The newsletter is a free on-line publication bringing together news and information on Wirral coastal issues.

The newsletter is produced by Wirral Council’s Coastal Rangers, part of the Parks and Countryside Section within the Regeneration Department and is published 3 times a year.

To receive an electronic copy {Adobe Reader required} please e-mail:

Information will be entered into a database and will not be made available to any other persons other than the editorial team and will be used solely for the purpose of assisting the distribution of this newsletter.

Please let the Coastal Rangers know if you are representing a group or organization and if you are a Wirral resident. 


Log on to:


The Dee Estuary is one of the UK’s premier birding locations for wetland and shorebirds. The Dee Estuary Birding web site describes the best Dee Estuary birdwatching areas with detailed maps and latest bird news for dedicated twitchers and casual birdwatchers alike.

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Do you have any MEMORIES or stories about Hilbre Island?

We would love to hear from you - please send your contributions to:


The Newsletter Editor at:


Always check the tides before going out to Hilbre. Tides change each day. Use the safe route, it is dangerous to use any other route. For full details of when to cross safely and the safest route to Hilbre see our Planning your visit to Hilbre Island page.


PLEASE NOTE: All articles and photographs in this web site are ©  COPYRIGHT of Friends of Hilbre unless specifically otherwise stated.

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