One of the delights of living is Cheshire is the occasional visit to Parkgate, a pretty village facing onto the marshes of the estuary of the River Dee. I remember visiting in the 1960s and seeing the most spectacular of sunsets.


Parkgate has an interesting history, and provides a pleasant walking promenade along by the marshes, which are an RSPB reserve. There are plenty of birds to be seen, albeit usually at some distance. The biggest high tides are always popular, as the birds are driven closer to the land, and the occasional rodent emerges from the marshes to escape the rising water.

parkgate birds
One of Parkgate’s marsh pools, with Welsh hills in background.

Last Sunday we saw marsh harriers, great egrets, grey herons and a variety of ducks, geese, gulls and smaller birds. As the sun went down there was a distant murmuration of starlings, and a hen harrier and stunning short eared owl came in to roost in the marshes. The birders with tripods and huge lenses got some good pics.

In Roman times Chester was a port on the River Dee. Over the centuries the river gradually became silted up and in the 18th century a new port was established at Parkgate, just over 10 miles downstream. As the Dee silted up further, the port became inoperable, and was superseded by Liverpool. Parkgate became a seaside resort in the 18th century, with a popular lido. Further silting and grass encroachment soon put and end to this.

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