What a wonderful world: Walking Beats in the Rimrose Valley

Avatar for Verity Fay Henrywood
By Verity Fay Henrywood

Join Verity and Jubilee for an inspiring trip round Rimrose Valley Country Park and to the beach and dunes at Crosby. It will make you want to don your walking boots and stride out to our inspiring ‘Walking Beats Liverpool’ soundtrack!

On this late summer’s day my golden retriever, Jubilee, is looking at me with those deep hazelnut eyes, ears pricked, and her tail wagging. I mutter that exciting word “Walk?” Gulping down the rest of my lukewarm tea while I tie my shoelaces, the pitter-patter of Jubilee’s paws accompanies us to the door. Stepping outside, golden sunrays strike my face and I fill my ears with the sounds of CPRELancs’ Walking Beats: Liverpool Spotify playlist.

Trees of green zigzag the street as Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World warms my heart. Entering Rimrose Valley Country Park I spot a soon-to-be Cinnabar Moth, posing as a black and yellow striped caterpillar, take its poison from the Ragwort weed on which it crawls. Metamorphosis truly is my favourite of nature’s spells. The writing on the lamppost reminds me of the Goddess Trail; an art project by Alice Lenkiewicz in summer 2018, campaigning against government plans to build a dual carriageway through the park. I smile softly with hope; the country park has survived another couple of years – long may it continue.

Cinnabar caterpillar on ragwort

Welcomed by a field of Goldenrod, spurts of yellow fluff rise into the sky like bees, accompanying the playful musical notes. Crows dip and dive with the swirls of the wind, teasing each other with their tricks. I gently pull my fingers up the head of swaying Orchard Grass, feeling its tips parting between my fingers. These sensory, textured plants instantly reduce the stress of my busy week, allowing me to pause and forget societal pressures, just for a moment.

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My mind calms as I take in a deep breath of nature’s finest. Bishop’s Lace dots the land like a seamstress’s studio, and Black Knapweed isn’t shy in showing its fluorescent purple spikes, in contrast to the smooth, velvet droops of its neighbour, the Tufted Vetch. But my curiosity is roused by Pineapple Weed. The fun ball-shaped plant looks comical and I find one lying on the ground, slightly crushed. The leaves begin to exude the fruit’s aroma as I rub them in the crease of my palm. Jubilee starts sneezing, and flirtily swishes off down the path with purpose, searching for something a little more suited to her senses.Memory Lane leads me back to my teenage years with the feel-good song, She’s So Lovely by Scouting For Girls. I touch the furry stems of Red Bartsia before making my way to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, the longest man-made waterway in England. A paddling of ducks chatters over my headphones in its noisy social circle. Jubilee teases them for some time before she is distracted by an approaching dog.

Leeds Liverpool Canal

Mouthing the Beatles as though I were in the music video, I glimpse a polka-dotted ladybird nestling in a crisp white pod – a sign of autumn approaching. As I Walk This Way (Aerosmith) down the path, the cross-like centers of Great Willowherb remind me of Easter hot cross buns and their sweet, sweet smell…

7-Spot Ladybird on Common Mugwort     –     Great Willowherb     –     Bird’s Foot Trefoil

With the lull of cyclists’ wheels harmonising with the soprano song of tweeting birds, these traffic-free routes are heavenly spots for commuters and animals alike. The ever-changing direction of Bird’s Foot Trefoil petals reminds me of the crossroads we reach in life; which path to choose? Changing course, the beats of Post Malone accompany me through a woodland walk where I stumble across a manmade metal mushroom glimmering in the dappled sunlight. Fungi season is fast-approaching, and soon the park will look so different. As Malone sings “seasons change”…The Coral’s cheerful Liverpool sound perfectly matches the banks of colour swaying in the field in front of me. The abundance of wild flowers creates a rainbow Mexican wave. Before I know it, Jubilee is jumping and dancing with them, ears flopping up and down, out of time with the rest of her body.

Fulwood Wetland

The wealth of blackberries sees me snacking, hopping around the brambles to pick the best treasures, before reaching the Fulwood Wetland sign. Beautifully distressed, it is a strong visual of the elements and the might of Mother Earth.

Rose Bay Willowherb

The strident spirit of local phenomenon Zuzu hurries my Doc Martens along as I stomp across the boardwalk. I can hardly see into the distance as the Rose Bay Willowherb dominates the scenery in both height and colour, creating never-ending highlights of pastel pink.Fat Freddy’s Drop and their fusion of reggae and jazz instantly brings a smile to my face as I’m greeted by the electric blue and rich orange visage of the Rimrose Wildflower Meadow.

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Squinting to the horizon, blurry figures start to appear as the path brings a new burst of life. Dog walkers, runners, cyclists and mothers pushing prams happily wander. “Where would they go if the park was gone?” I reflect. The running track that hugs the meadow must be one of the most beautiful places to test your fitness.

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Texas Sun brings a gap in the clouds and a ray of sunshine hits a singular red poppy. Behind, I can see sunflowers peaking above their friends, standing tall and proud. I snatch a sudden, shallow gasp; there is nothing quite like a thriving green space – a real haven for nature.

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I salute the magpies whilst weaving myself in and out of this magical maze. As I come out onto a road leading to the beach, What’s It Like In Liverpool? plays and I am filled with emotional pride.

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The avenue trees continue the wildflower meadow’s charm; vivid flowers nestled amongst their roots brightening up the concrete jungle.

The Waterloo Sunset Cafe greets me, with Waterloo Sunset by the Kinks chiming in my ears. How fitting. I rest at a table to nibble a yummy homemade cake, my thoughts lost in the swirls of frothy hot chocolate.

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Jubilee’s soft whines lead us further on to where Canada Geese chill by the Crosby Lakeside Center, dipping in and out of the water. My first sighting of black swans’ tall necks perfectly mirrors the dramatic Peel Ports cranes.

Clambering onto a dune, I watch Jubilee with amusement as she digs to Australia in the sand. I wonder what she is searching for, if anything. The breeze picks up, hugging me tighter into my knitted cardigan. Listening to nature’s waves in one ear, and Robin Schulz’ Waves in another. Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside …

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As a friendly bumblebee joins me and perches on nearby sea holly, I people-watch the litter pickers taking care of the land, feeling a sense of contentment. The 100 Iron Men statues stand around them, looking out to sea, submerging and awakening with the tides. Coldplay’s Paradise finalises our journey as the sky’s mood blushes. Nature is our paradise, and we must do our best to protect it.

 

If you’d like to know more about how the campaign to protect Rimrose Valley Country Park is going, why not listen to the latest podcast from the Save Rimrose Valley campaign group, featuring our Chief Exec Crispin Truman:

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