About the Friends of
Ashton Park

The Friends of Ashton Park were set up in May 1991 to represent the users of the Park, to form a partnership with the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, who own and maintain the Park and to aid the maintenance and improvement of the Park for the community.

The aims of the Friends are:

  • To be a responsible body to help to ensure the protection of Ashton Park and its flora and fauna.
  • To seek the maintenance and improvement of its facilities for the benefit of residents of West Kirby, park users and the public.
  • To encourage the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral to improve facilities, including, but not exclusively, toilets, recreation provision, footpaths, benches and fences.
  • To help to educate the public in the use, history and other aspects of and relating to the Park.
  • To accept donations, grants and subscriptions to further the aims of the group.

Since our formation the Friends have worked closely with the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and others to encourage, sponsor, finance and implement projects to improve the park.

The catalyst for the formation of the Friends of Ashton Park was the deterioration of the children’s playground which threatened its future: the only public children’s playground in West Kirby. £24,000 was raised towards the refurbishment and improvement of the playground and the work on the playground progressed through Wirral Council. The playground has been the focal point of activity in the park ever since.

Working with Wirral Council

Early activities focused on fund-raising through an annual May Fair and running a refreshments kiosk “The Teashop in the Park” on a Sunday afternoon.

Over the years, there have been many park improvements, activities and publications, encouraged or facilitated by the Friends Group.

  • Replanting of borders, shrubberies and trees.
  • Replanting of rose-beds.
  • Bulb-planting.
  • Further improvements to the children’s playground.
  • Installation of Victorian style fingerpost signs.
  • A wildlife notice-board.
  • Further notice-boards in the park and on the Wirral Way
  • Preparation of a park map to guide visitors and to use in publicity.
  • A new pathway in the Secret Garden and an accessible link between Upper and Lower Park.
  • The introduction of junior football to the park.
  • Construction of a multi-use games area in the Upper Park.
  • A planets trail in the Lower Park.
  • Creation of an orienteering course.
  • Woodcarving.
  • A new “railway themed” entrance from the Wirral Way.
  • Maintaining the tradition of an annual May Fair
  • Organisation of open air theatre in partnership with Foolsgold Theatre Company.
  • Re-introduction of band concerts into the park.
  • Undertaking market research among users and local residents..
  • Regular newsletters for members and visitors.
  • Progression of research into the history of the park.
  • Publication of articles on the history of the Park.
  • Printing of various leaflets about the Park.
  • Installation of nine information boards on the history of the Park.

These improvements, activities and publications reflect the determination of the Friends to develop the Park for the enjoyment of the community in West Kirby and to work with the community locally and across Wirral while retaining its traditional character.

Martin and Dave with Wirral Council’s Christine Smyth. Below: the entrance to the tea shop.

Getting involved

Our activities are overseen by a Committee which meets regularly throughout the year (usually monthly). An A.G.M. meets annually to appoint the Committee and officers of the group – a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.
Membership

Membership is open to anyone in sympathy to the range of aims supported by the group. We welcome new members at any time.

  • Membership subscriptions are as follows:-
    £8 for individuals.
    £15 for families.

As a member you will receive newsletters, email updates on news and topical issues, insurance cover while volunteering and the opportunity to assist the Friends of Ashton Park in various ways.

A membership form can be accessed by clicking here which will allow you to download it, fill it in on line and return it by email, post or hand deliver it. Please follow the instructions on the membership form.

Donations

We also fund-raise for the improvement of the park and the running of events through our May Fair and other activities. It you want to make donations please contact our Treasurer Arthur McDonald on 0151 625 0182 or email arthurmcd21@gmail.com

Volunteering

If you are interested in volunteering, we would like to hear from you. We rely on volunteers to support us in various ways:-

  • Helping at events, e.g. staffing at stalls.
  • Stewarding at events (fairs or band concerts)
  • Catering at May/Christmas Fairs.
  • Erecting marquees for band concerts.
  • Opening, closing or staffing the teashop in the park.
  • Gardening and tidying work.

Please let us know if you are interested using the Contact Us form or contact us by phone (see above).

Since 2019, the Friends of Ashton Park have been organising gardening in Ashton Park in partnership with our local Wirral Council Ranger. Cuts in Wirral Council resources and staffing make it important we assist in ways we can help. We undertake tasks, light and not so light, to suit your abilities and preferences including:

  • Weeding
  • Pruning and planting shrubs
  • Rose dead-heading
  • Bulb planting
  • Sweeping pathways.
  • Cleaning notice-boards.
  • Litter picking.
  • Maintaining adopted areas in the park.

We meet on the First Thursday and Third Friday of each month at 9.30am and work through till 11.30am at the pace you are comfortable with.

Come and chat to us when we are passing, join us at 9.30 at the Lower Park Pavilion, or contact Martin Harrison on 0151 625 8535 or  martinandsueharrison@gmail.com

Publications

The FOAP publishes regular newsletters which are circulated to membership and are available to non-members and have published the following leaflets – a Tree Trail, Planets Trail and Historical Trail.

These are available in the teashop in the Lower Park or from Martin Harrison on 0151 625 8535 or  martinandsueharrison@gmail.com.

Archives, Postcards and Photos

The FOAP is building up a considerable archive of written records, photos and postcards and artefacts relating to the park since 1901.

This is backed up by research on the history of the park, mostly from old newspapers in Wirral Archives and the British Newspaper Archive which is progressively being digitalised and made available on line. This is enabling us to publish articles, contribute to newsletters and maintain this website.

If you have any records, postcards, photos or anything relating to the history of the park we would like to discuss it with you: either to receive them as a donation or scan, photo or record them.

Contact Martin Harrison on 0151 625 8535 or martinandsueharrison@gmail.com to discuss.

One of our most valuable receipts was a series of slides dated 1969 which recorded the park when it looked at its best under the care of the old council before transfer to the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in 1974.

Do help us if you can. These slides were digitalised and two are shown below. The rest can be seen here: History of Ashton Park.

The Donating Lodge at Ashton Park, West Kirby, taken in 1969

The lodge and the lower green, taken in 1969.