Wandering the Green Ways

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s s a r g e s o o g r c s e n

c o r m o r a n t i d e g e t

g r o w i n g g b r e v i r k

Wandering the green ways



stickybob street tide vicarage wander water

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healthy hotel meadow mersey nature peaceful river

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cormorant dandelion elderflower explore goosegrass green growing

WORDS: beautiful birds blackberry buddleia buttercup butterfly church

HINT: words are horizontal, vertical & diagonal

We know our local area is a really special place. We want to share and celebrate the smaller details you might miss, so you can be outdoors and active in West Bank too. As we went out walking and exploring we felt like detectives, looking for things that were new to us; interesting plants and tiny creatures hiding in cracks in walls. We found things that gave us hints about the history of the area, and lots of information boards which told us even more. We soon realised that we were enjoying getting out and doing something different. We saw how lucky we were that there are such great places to walk round and play in; we hope you agree and enjoy getting out in West Bank too. “I saw stickybob, I saw a crocodile shaped cloud. I loved doing it”


- Go up high - look out from the Catalyst Observatory, watch the developing Mersey Gateway Bridge. Look at the furthest distance you can see, look at the street patterns, people, cars and the fast moving tidal river; ebb and flow. - Get down low - find tiny plants growing in small spaces, look for small creatures, see patterns on leaves, in walls, on buildings. Be surprised at the unusual (and usual) things.

The IMPORTANT bit on the back . . . Funded by: Created by: Working with:


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- Slow down, Stop - walk slower, take time to see things around you. Stop awhile, rest and enjoy the green spaces - we’ve marked places on the map where you can sit. - Use all your senses - take time to focus on the overlooked. Close your eyes and listen to sounds nearby and far away. Touch the many textures you’ll pass as you are walking - what is smooth, what is rough, what is your favourite?


Some plants can irritate skin, don’t touch if you don’t know what they are & always wash your hands well afterwards.

. . . and most importantly of all - HAVE FUN!


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Halton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Jeni McConnell, Artist Widnes Academy, West Bank team of: Abi, Amelia, Cameron, Campbell, Ebony, Hannah, Isabelle, Jamie-Leigh, Kyran, Lottie, Macy, Oliwier, Thomas & Miss Smith.


Created by Widnes Academy children in years 3-6 with artist Jeni McConnell, for Halton CCG

More web info: haltonccg.nhs.uk | widnesacademy.co.uk jenimcconnell.com | haltonscollections.org.uk haltonsheritage.blogspot.co.uk catalyst.org.uk | sankeycanal.co.uk

West Bank in Widnes is a beautiful place with its greenery and all the mysteries behind it; we want to share this with everyone. It’s safe and peaceful, it’s very picturesque and you can see lots of different nature and lovely views.

GETTING HERE: Car: WA8 0DF Bus: haltontransport.co.uk Bike: Route NCN62 | sustrans.org.uk

READ ON to explore and learn more about West Bank . . .

Spike Island

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↑ Driving in/out ↓


WE SAW bridges, buildings, funny shaped clouds,

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WE SMELT garlic and wild roses. WE HEARD

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The sky is blue, the river is blue, all I can see is blue.

Cars and other traffic further away, we heard mysterious bird sounds and trains passing by. We heard children chattering and a plane with its loud engines.

WE FELT the rain on our skin, the breeze ruffling our hair.




Paths & Walkways Conservation Area



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18. Vicarage 19. Beach Terrace 20. Transporter Bridge 21. Pier on the Prom (under threat) 22. Accident Hospital 23. Bandstand 24. Coopers Mersey Flat Boat Yard 25. Century Cinema


← NCN62

EXISTING BUILDINGS/STRUCTURES (* Listed) 6. Brittania/Ethelfleda Rail Bridge* 1. Health Centre 7. Silver Jubilee Bridge* 2. Swan Inn (closed) 8. St Mary’s Community Centre 3. Catalyst Museum* 9. St Mary’s Church* 4. Widnes Academy 10. Sunken boat(s) 5. Mersey Hotel OLD BUILDINGS 11. St Patrick’s Church 12. St Mary’s Church 13. Bridge Hotel 14. West Bank House 15. Railway Toll House 16. Hartland Chapel 17. Zion Chapel


KEY Info/signs/features Sitting places Play areas

Water moving, trees swaying, that’s what makes West Bank. Church bell dinging, people praying, that’s what makes West Bank.





1. Find your favourite green walk route 2. Find a stickybob seed 3. Find a scarlet pimpernel 4. Identify this flower (right) 5. Find our school on the map 6. Can you complete the word search 7. Can you see Halton Castle 8. What are the carvings on the Prom walls


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What will you discover?

Tide changing, people ranging, that’s why West Bank is home. In West Bank you can see flowers, Catalyst or even me. That’s what makes West Bank home.


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We felt the steps warmed by the sunshine and the cold metal of the railings. We felt peaceful and calm.

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Tide changing, water changing, that’s what makes West Bank. View outstanding, no frowning, that’s what makes West Bank. See the tide turn, hear the birds chirp, taste the fresh air, feel the different textures and experience West Bank . . . I can see the church that lurches all over the houses and the cars pass by and the reflection in my eye

The sky is blue, the river is too, the froth on the river gives me the shiver. The cool breeze is the shiveries and that is this day, forever.

People change because of us, the Mersey represents us

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DESIGN: Jeni McConnell | DRAWINGS & WORDS: Abi, Amelia, Cameron, Campbell, Ebony, Hannah, Isabelle, Jamie-Leigh, Kyran, Lottie, Macy, Oliwier, Thomas and Miss Smith

houses, traffic, dogs, water making patterns, bees, carvings in sandstone walls, birds on the sandbank, lots of plants, bricks, nice views, a shiny black beetle, bird houses, caterpillars, nettles, groundsel, barley, big muddy rocks, graffiti, bird poo, benches, a holly tree and a secret footpath.

site of St Patrick’s Church (1888-1997)

site of St Mary’s Church (1858-1910)

Spike Island, Alkali industry (1847-c.1914)

Catalyst Museum & Science Discovery

Sankey Canal New Cut, opened 1833

West Bank School, opened in 1877

site of Transporter Bridge (1905-1961)

Silver Jubliee Bridge, opened 1961

“ I loved going down to Spikey and to the caves” “Spike Island is a great place, but did you know that Catalyst used to be the offices for a soap factory” “ I can’t wait to share this with my new neighbours”

“For me the most exciting part was the long walks, because we got to see so much more of West Bank”

WEST BANK in Widnes has some amazing places to go out and find more about. There’s so much history here, from the earliest ferry crossing by the Mersey Hotel nearly 1,000 years ago, to the huge alkali industry which dominated Spike Island until the early 1900s. There are a lot of signs and information boards telling you about the area - we’ve marked them on the map so you can learn more as you explore . . .

past & present

Churches are built in the shape of a cross. We loved going inside St Mary’s. We sat quietly whilst Greg explained about some of the lovely features.

The old bandstand is now in Victoria Park. It must have been lovely to hear the band playing here. We think it is still a nice place to sit and rest.

The Accident Hospital was converted from houses built in 1870. You can still see the front steps on the promenade walkway. Many people remember it well.

The Pier on the Prom has overlooked the fast flowing River Mersey and the road and rail bridges since the early 1900s. It might not be here for much longer, sadly.

The Mersey Hotel, was also referred to as the Snig (Eels) which were caught locally. This replaced the Boat House Inn, and was where the ferry boat stopped.

The Vicarage was on Parsonage Road, facing the river. Six terraced houses ran alongside on Beach Terrace - all demolished c1960 for the ‘new’ bridge.

Nature is multi-coloured, beautiful too, and if you love it, then it will love you

GOOSEGRASS (Cleavers, or Stickybob) Has long straggly stems that grow low over the ground with tiny star shaped white-green flowers which appear in May and June. Every part of the plant has tiny hooked hairs which help it to cling to other plants - and to us! It is a member of the same family of plants as coffee. The hard tiny fruits have been roasted and ground to produce a coffee substitute.

WILD ROSE (DOG ROSE) & ROSEHIPS With a beautiful delicate scent and pale white-pink flowers, these plants grow in abundance around West Bank in summertime. The shiny red rosehips appear through August to November See if you can out what they can be used for . . .

DANDELION The name is from the French, dent de lion, ‘lion’s tooth’, which refers to the shape of the leaf. The flower heads mature into soft round balls, which we sometimes call ‘clocks’; these are the seeds that float around in the wind. Dandelions are very important for bees. ELDER: FLOWERS & BERRIES The sweet smelling flowers from this shrub can be used to make a lovely cordial.

In one of our favourite sessions we walked round Spike Island looking at the wildlife and the beautiful green spaces there. We were also surprised at how much greenery and pretty flowers we saw in the streets too - we’d like to teach you some of their names ...

BLACKBERRY (Bramble) These grow wild throughout most of Europe. The plant produces long stems with sharp prickles. In late spring and early summer small flowers appear with 5 white or pale pink petals. The flower heads develop into blackberries in autumn. There are lots of recipes for using blackberries - how would you eat them?

WEST BANK MYSTERIES Roses are red, violets are blue, we found many different things, can you find them too?

In autumn the ripening black elderberries appear. In folklore the plant was said to give protection from witches.

BUDDLEIA (BUTTERFLY BUSH) If you walk along the Prom on a summers day, you might see a kaleidoscope of butterflies collecting nectar on these bright purple flowers. Buddleias grow almost anywhere - we saw lots of them sprouting out of the walls.

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