Sefton Park, Liverpool: Winter Solstice 2006

Holly berries (small).jpgToday is the Winter Solistice – the shortest day of the year, if by ‘day’ we mean daylight hours. Yet, in this so-far extraordinarily warm Winter, even at this point in the annual cycle of birth and rebirth there is much to see when we venture out into the great urban spaces such as Liverpool’s Sefton Park.
Sefton Park Winter squirrel with conker.jpgSefton Park Winter rat.jpgThis is the Winter Solstice, a time when little is expected of an urban park, a time of anticipated bleakness and dank dark days. Yet in this month of nothingness Liverpool’s Sefton Park, just a mile or two from the city centre, has life in abundance. The small creatures of the secret places continue to roam their tracks, there are birds both of the water and of the air, and humans too, of every sort, take their ease with their companions, their children, their partners and their four legged friends.
A park for all

Sefton Park Winter boys, ducks, golden lake.jpgHere are young and older couples, parents and children, kids looking for a bit of fun by the lake, people exercising seriously and people intent on doing nothing. The short day offers no excuse for staying indoors, whether there be sunshine or showers. The opportunity to take the air remains, for so far this Winter there have not been many really wild or soakingly wet days when the only place to be is home. Even in this, the solstice week, walking in the park is what the people of Liverpool have been doing.
Mists and mellowness, not biting winds
Sefton park Winter couple reflected in waterfall pool.jpgSefton Park Winter young couple.jpgSefton Park Winter mother & small cyclist, sitting.jpgThis is still, in Winter 2006, the season of mists and shadowy silhouettes against the sky. It is not as yet the season of ice and snow, though doubtless this will prevail as the year turns on the coming Spring equinox, for a short while
covering everything in a shining blanket of white.Sefton Park Winter man in mist by lake & trees.jpg
But for now the mildness of Autumn stays with us whilst the temperament of Winter fails to claim the expectations of the park. The days are short but the fierceness of wind and sleet which usually accompanies this brevity of light has not on the whole been forthcoming. We continue, urban ramblers at our leisure, unchallenged by the elements in the brief hours of light and even sunshine which this strange solstice is affording.
The sun, golden
Yes, we have seen rain – and on a few days much rain, though not bitingly cold and cutting – but we see also setting suns against the faded former glories of the bandstand, we watch that same sunset against the snowy-looking clouds behind the trees, and we gaze until it disappears at the liquid gold of the lake, reflecting the sky which illuminates all below it.
Sefton Park Winter father & son golden lake.jpgSefton Park Winter bandstand sunset.jpgSefton Park Winter trees against golden cloud.jpg
Waiting for Winter

This is a time of waiting. The solstice will very soon be forgotten as Christmas takes a hold on the park, the city and, it seems to us from where we stand, the entire world. Perhaps this year the many strollers who occupy Sefton Park on Christmas Day and Boxing Day will be sporting not their usual new, thick Winter Sefton Park 06.3.4 (snow) 046.jpgscarves and woolly hats, but the lighter attire of Autumn and Spring. This year we may, it seems, be spared the cruel inclemencies of deep Winter, thereby

Posted on December 22, 2006, in Liverpool And Merseyside, People And Places, Sustainability As If People Mattered, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

    Opening date: Sunday 29th June 2008
    Two superb private gardens previously unseen by the public, plus ninety city allotments, will open their gates to for the first time as part of the celebration of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year 2008.
    The garden of the University of Liverpool’s Vice-Chancellor, Drummond Bone, has previously only been seen by the select few at Graduation garden parties. The large garden in the Toxteth area of Liverpool boasts a rare collection of old shrub roses, a grand formal terrace, grape vine and mature shrub borders. Contact Vivian Bone: 0151 728 8375
    Nearby is the new and developing garden of one of Liverpool’s old merchant houses, Park Mount, overlooking Sefton Park. Here gardener Jeremy Nicholls has been creating a glorious garden using vibrant colours and adventurous planting combinations, with some surprises and many rare plants.
    Contact: Jeremy Nicholls 0151 733 8205 / 07802 676242
    The ninety allotments in Sefton Park will show how well a city plots can provide fruit and vegetables of the highest quality, offering inspiration to other city gardeners. The site includes many interesting community facilities and a plot adapted for disabled gardeners. The site has featured in national TV and film productions – see the ‘Bread’ shed where Lilo Lil held her trysts on plot 89. Contact: Giulia Harding 0151 727 4877
    All the above will open their gates for charity on Sunday June 29th 2008, under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme.
    Sefton Park Palm House will be at the centre of the celebrations with rare and unusual plants for sale, musical entertainment and afternoon tea, and demonstrations from the National Association of Flower Arrangers. Contact: Rosemary on 0151 726 9304.
    Admission is £4.00 with tickets available at all four venues on the day.
    Contact Information:
    Christine Ruth, Press Officer, National Garden Scheme, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester. 0151 727 4877 / 07740 438994

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