The Friends of Hilbre Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 42 - Online version
February 2013

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Friends of Hilbre
Plan Your Visit.
How to Join.
MIU Events.
Volunteers' Work.
Task Days.  

Inside this issue:
Volunteering 2013.
Seal Watch/Open Days.
Mid-week Tasks.
Notes on Seal Watching 2013.
Weekend Tasks.
Important changes to tasks.
E-mail Newsletter.
Mobile Information Unit and 2013 Dates.
Safety Notice.
Archived Newsletters


This image of the landmark is from a postcard dated 1906


For information on:
Weekend & Mid-week Task Days;  Friends of Hilbre Open Days; Seal Watching Days;
Mobile Information Unit Days; Membership Application Forms; Newsletter contributions;
General Information.

Chairman of the Friends of Hilbre

Allen Burton 0151 648 7115

Tides and Information
Wirral Country Park Ranger Service 0151 648 4371

Wirral Council Web Site:

Back to 'Inside this issue'.

Volunteering Opportunities 2013

Spring is just around the corner and we can all start looking forward to getting out and about in the fresh spring air.  If you have made a New Year’s resolution to get fit, or to take up a new hobby, why not consider volunteering with the Friends of Hilbre?  

We have a wide range of activities that you can try. You may like to do physical tasks on the islands e.g. bracken pulling, wall building, painting, weeding etc. Or you may like to join the Seal Watch Team and use our telescope to show the public a close up view of the Grey Atlantic Seals. Or, you may enjoy giving information to the public either on the open days on Hilbre Island or on the Mobile Information Unit at West Kirby. 

We have both weekend and weekdays tasks and all are well attended by our members, but we are always very happy to welcome new volunteers. No prior experience is needed and training is always available when required.

Inside this issue are all the meeting details for the 2013 tasks and activities. Please note there is some important information on page 4 about changes in the arrangements for attending tasks. 

It is great fun taking part in activities on the Hilbre islands. However they are cut off from the mainland, by the tide, twice a day and there are steep cliffs and tidal gullies. The advice and precautions outlined, within this newsletter, will help you to have a safe, comfortable and enjoyable time on Hilbre.  

To our stalwart volunteers; welcome back, great to see you again! To our first time volunteers; we look forward to meeting you!

Notes on Seal Watching 2013

Those of you who have already helped me with the seal watching on open days will be aware of how much visitors to the island enjoy being able to view the seals through the telescope.  It really does enhance their visit to Hilbre not only because they are able to see the seals and their movements but also because we are able to tell them a little about the seals and their habits.

I do hope that you will be able to volunteer again this year, you really do make such a difference to everyone's enjoyment.  You now have the dates for this year so please decide which days are best for you and give me a ring to book your slot.  

I am always looking for new recruits so if you are a member of Friends of Hilbre and over 18 years old why not consider joining us?  We are not experts but we do have a little knowledge which we can pass on.

The training day will be the first seal watch day of the season, Saturday 9th March.  You will learn how to set up the telescope and will be given a set of notes relating to the Hilbre seals.  I would then like you to commit to at least one other day throughout the summer months.  If you are interested  please  get in touch with June Atkinson  by Saturday 2nd March at our e-mail address or phone our Chairman, Allen Burton.

Due to insurance restrictions, no-one under the age of 18 can volunteer to work the tasks days on the islands.

For the weekend tasks (which are over high tide), it is keep to the 'meet' and 'leave' times, as stated within this newsletter, to ensure a safe crossing to and from the islands.

 Important Note re Tasks in 2013 'A Change of Approach'  

In the past we have set the dates for Task Days on Hilbre and simply waited in the car park by West Kirby Lake for people to turn up.  On occasions this has lead to misunderstandings, for example someone arriving a bit late and finding no one about, has then gone home.   On the other hand, the teams who organise the Mobile Information Unit and the Seal Watching always plan the “staff” so that they know who is going to be there.

With this in mind the Committee decided at a recent meeting to try a similar approach to Task days.  So in 2013 we shall be asking if volunteers will let me know in advance if they intend to come to a Task on the Island.   Obviously we cannot anticipate every contingency so there may well occur difficulties which prevent someone from attending.  The opposite could also arise - you may find that on the last minute you would like to be there.  Both cases can be accommodated.  

For this year, if you are planning to go on a Task Day, either mid-week or weekend,  please give me a call on 0151 648 7115. Allen Burton

 E-mail Copies of the FOH Newsletter  

Due to rising costs and the fact that we now have to pay for photocopying, we have been looking at ways to reduce the cost of producing the newsletter. We have now set up a dedicated e-mail account for the electronic distribution of the newsletter.

If you would be happy to receive your newsletters electronically, could you please send your
e-mail address to the following site:-

We realise that some of you already receive the newsletter via e-mail but this is a new system which we hope will make administration easier.

Do you have any items for our newsletter?
Anecdotes, pictures, drawings, articles, poems etc. We would love to hear from you.
Pleas send your contributions for the newsletter to the editor, Nicky, at:

N.B. Due to the pressure of space and the amount of information we need to put in this issue, the next instalment of Mr Ross's memoirs will appear in our April newsletter.

 Mobile Information Unit  

Barbara and Val send a BIG THANK YOU all our dedicated members who have volunteered their time on the MIU in 2012. 

Questions about the Hilbre Islands Local Nature Reserve, the Dee Estuary, tide times, Wirral, and the work of The Friends of Hilbre are standard queries for our volunteers to answer. We also direct members of the public to the appropriate authority when required. In addition various items are offered for sale on the MIU, for example:- Information Sheets, books, prints, DVD’s, postcards, greeting cards, fridge magnets, and bookmarks. Any profits from these items contribute towards the work of the Friends on Hilbre Island. 

Volunteers have staffed the MIU at Dee Lane slipway on eight Sundays in 2012  - folk are genuinely pleased to discover our presence. We have also attended the History and Heritage Fair in Birkenhead, St. Bridget’s Church Fair in West Kirby, and Lifeboat Day in Hoylake. All venues are valuable avenues for letting folk know there is a Friends of Hilbre group in existence!

Our thanks must also go the Wirral Rangers who bring the MIU to Dee Lane slipway at West Kirby, always patient and with a warm smile!

New volunteers will be warmly welcomed. Please contact Barbara or Val by e-mail at if you would like to join our team on the MIU. 

There is no drinking water on the island. Please bring enough drink for the day (not alcohol!!) and a snack. Bring warm clothing, gardening gloves and waterproofs; wellies may be a good 

Information boards, by the slipway in West Kirby, show the daily safe crossing times and the safe route to walk to the islands.

We are a friendly lot and always are pleased to meet new volunteers. If it is your first time on a task,  please make yourself known, to the task leader, at the meeting point, so that we can make sure that you are introduced to everyone.

We warmly welcome new members to our group.

If you would like to join us please email the Membership Secretary for an Application Form at:

Please note that members of the public can visit Hilbre Islands’ Local Nature Reserve throughout the year. The Friends of Hilbre do not guide visitors across the shore to the islands. 

Please contact the Coastal Rangers at the Thurstaston Visitor Centre, Wirral Country Park.
Tel. 0151 648 4371 (10am to 4pm, seven days a week).


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.


This newsletter is available by e-mail only.
To receive an electronic copy by e-mail (Adobe Reader required) please contact:

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 page:
Planning your visit to Hilbre Island

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