The Friends of Hilbre Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 43 - Online version
April 2013

main menu

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

Inside this issue:
E-mail Newsletter.
Mr Ross Memoirs.
Membership Fees.
Call for Volunteers.
Friends of Hilbre Committee 2012/13.
Thankyou Richard.
Safety Notice.
Archived Newsletters



Hilbre Island seen from Middle Eye © Valerie Burnett


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'.

The Friends of Hilbre
Annual General Meeting
Thursday 16th May 2013 at 7.30am
Reports & Progress to Date
Guest Speaker: Roy Forshaw
Topic: Survey Work on Hilbre Island

Venue: United Reformed Church Hall
[corner of Meols Drive & Bridge Road, West Kirby]

Members of the Public are Welcome

Roy Forshaw showing CAD drawings and the detail that accurate surveying and computer software can provide

We would urge you to support us by attending the AGM if you are able.  It is an opportunity to see and hear what is going on in the group and to meet like minded people. We welcome your ideas and suggestions and will answer any questions as best we can.

We will be voting to elect our Friends of Hilbre committee members for 2013/14.  If you 
would like to nominate any FofH members to join the committee, or if you would like to add any items to the AGM agenda, please contact Allen Burton (0151 648 7115) by 1st May 2013.

You can renew your membership at the AGM. There will be a display stand and lists of volunteering opportunities and task dates. A raffle will be held to raise funds and light refreshments will be provided.
We look forward to seeing you there - the United Reformed Church Hall in West Kirby, is on the corner of Meols Drive and Bridge Road, West Kirby.

 Back to 'Inside this issue'.

Help us to cut costs; request the Friends of Hilbre Newsletter by e-mail. If you would be happy to receive your newsletters electronically, could you please send your e-mail address to the following site:

 n.b. this is a 'no-reply' address and cannot be used for correspondence.

Memoirs of Hilbre: A Member's Story [Part 3]

One 'job' was to carry out, as far as possible, a search of the high-water mark, fossicking for whatever there might be. We collected one or two glass fishing net floats – very highly prized, and on another occasion we found a damaged, but recognisable sword scabbard. It was quite wide and flat, with a slight but pronounced curve in it. A cutlass scabbard, perhaps? One of Dad's best ever finds was a large plaice which had got itself trapped in a rock pool. It must have been 3-lbs. or even more. That went home to the kitchen, and very nice it was too. Dad wasn't averse to picking up decent bits of timber and we once found, and somehow got it home, a lovely cedar plank 6 ft. long, 6 inches wide and 3 inches thick.

What else? Well, in summer Dad usually had his cozzie on in lieu of underclothes. He had a collapsible shuffle net and he would shuffle around the lifeboat slip for shrimps and the occasional prawn. Once or twice, while 'staying on, Dad set up a small 'lay-line'. We got a few small dabs and an occasional eel, but we were never really self-sufficient in fish! Once or twice we actually found empty clam shells. Dad said that in the early 1920's clams were 'seeded to try and persuade them to go forth and multiply’. They didn't!
It's an unlikely connection, but Hilbre may well be regarded as the birthplace of the skateboard! Fossicking along the tide line inshore of the main island, I came across a roller-skate. Just one, no sign of its mate! It was adjustable for length and after separating the two halves, I nailed one pair of wheels to the front of a piece of plank and the other wheels at the back, a quick spray of oil and Bingo!  Faster than any of my mates'trollies.  Even Dad seemed impressed.

We did quite often see ships steaming up the Swash, bound for Mostyn or Connah's Quay, while over the West Hoyle we sometimes noted small coasters going into the Point of Ayr Colliery. I can't recall many names now. One however, was the “Maythorn” owned by a company that many years later, I actually worked for, S. William Coe & Co. (In my time, Coe-Metcalf Shipping Ltd). 

Once we saw a schooner under plain sail coming inward through the Swash. Dad got quite excited “Not many of those left. There used to be hundreds of them. Anything to anywhere”. She did look well, foresail, fore-topsail, mainsail, main-topsail, fore staysail and jib. She was called, I remember, “Useful” and was lost in about 1946, running aground in very bad weather at Derbyhaven in the Isle of Man.    
                                                                                                     by Mr. H. L. Ross
Back to 'Inside this issue'.

Membership Fees 2013-2014  


Membership runs from May to April, there has been a small increase this year to accommodate expenses. Please e-mail Barbara our Membership Secretary for an Application Form:

Thankyou Richard

Val, on behalf of the Friends of Hilbre, would like to offer our thanks to Richard Smith for his assistance in ensuring that thirty issues of the Newsletter have been made available on-line since Issue 13 in 2004.

Richard, in turn, fully appreciates the huge amount of work that Val puts in both with the Friends of Hilbre generally and in particular preparing the on-line edition of the Newsletter which makes my job of transferring it to the web site relatively easy and straightforward.

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 Newsletter 42, to ensure a safe crossing to and from the islands.

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.

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:

The Friends of Hilbre

We 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.