Walking to Hilbre Island is a popular activity enjoyed by thousands of people every year. If you take notice of the tide times, the route and the weather your visit should be safe and enjoyable.
Timing your walk
The Islands are cut off from the mainland by the tide for about five hours out of every 12. If you are planning a visit, you must allow yourself enough time to leave Hilbre at least three hours before high water, or longer if any of your group walks slowly. It takes about one hour to cross the 2 miles to Hilbre.
When planning your journey you must find out the time of high water and allow enough time to complete your visit to the islands and your return journey to West Kirby safely.
Make sure you have enough crossing time, or you may be trapped by the tide. Be aware that strong winds may bring the tide in early or suddenly.
It is possible to visit the islands over high water, staying on the island for at least 5 hours while the tide is in.
When visiting over high water set out from West Kirby leaving the Dee Lane slipway at least 3 hours before high water, or 3½ hours on large tides of 9.5 metres or higher, to allow for a stay of 5+ hours. It is safe to leave Hilbre 2½ hours after high water to walk back to West Kirby.
You can walk there and back over one low water period while the tide is out.
If visiting Hilbre over the low water period, leave West Kirby Dee Lane slipway at least 3 hours after high water. When departing from Hilbre Island you must allow yourself enough time so that you leave Hilbre at least 3 hours before high water or 3½ hours on large tides 9.5 metres and higher.
Tide table booklets can be bought locally. Tide heights and times are displayed on the notice board at Dee Lane slipway.
For further advice on tide times and crossing safely to Hilbre please ring Wirral Country Park at Thurstaston on Tel. 0151 648 4371 (10am – 4pm, on 7 days a week).
This is the recommended route to Hilbre Island as provided by the Friends of Hilbre:
- Start from Dee Lane Slipway, which is adjacent to the Marine Lake, West Kirby.
- Walk toward Little Eye, the smallest of the three islands, keeping it on your right.
- As soon as you pass Little Eye turn right and continue on the sand passing Little Hilbre (also known as Middle Eye) on your left.
- Between Little Hilbre (Middle Eye) and Hilbre Island take the rough track over the rocks towards the south end of Hilbre where there is a footpath leading onto the island.
- DO NOT CROSS DIRECT TO HILBRE – DO NOT CROSS FROM HOYLAKE
What to wear
Always dress appropriately according to the local weather conditions.
Wear sensible footwear as rocks, barnacles and slippy seaweed can cause injury. There might be broken glass to look out for. Even when the tide is out the beach can be wet and there are rock pools on the islands – don’t wear your best shoes.
Respect the water
Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to walk to Hilbre and back. Do not take risks. Do not put yourself, your fellow walkers or anyone else in danger.
For further information about being safe around water visit the RNLI Respect The Water site.
It is your responsibility to cross safely.