Welcome to the 2018 season

Our website will shortly be updated so that you can book and pay for your paddling online. Until then, reach us by phone, or by email at enquiries@chesterkayakhire.co.uk, where there will always be a prompt and friendly reply. See you on the river soon!

Tel: 01244 422007

Guide to birdwatching on the Dee Estuary

The River Dee, and its estuary between the Wirral and North Wales, is not just the ideal place to enjoy kayaking and other watersports, but also to catch a glimpse of some incredible wildlife.

In particular, birdwatchers flock to the area all year round to see some of the rarest and most beautiful birds in Britain within this large but generally shallow expanse of water. If you plan to don your binoculars and seek out some winged wonders, here are some of the best places to do it:

Flint Castle

Starting off on dry land, the 13th-century castle at Flint is the perfect vantage point to see some of the feathered friends that make the area their home. The castle itself is very distinctive, with its isolated corner tower lending itself more closely to French architecture of the era than that in North Wales.

Keep your eyes peeled for black-tailed godwits and knots if you pay a visit in the winter, and make sure you’re not just looking at the waters and sandy banks, but inside the castle as well, because ravens use it as a breeding ground.

The castle is open to the public from 10am to 3:30pm every day except for over Christmas and New Year, and is free to visit.

Burton Mere Wetlands

The marsh and wetlands around Burton might seem well off the beaten track, but they’re easily accessible with a quick detour off the Chester High Road (A540), and buses from Chester and the Wirral go past the area if you don’t mind a short walk.

If you’re looking for the ideal time to visit, choose a slightly windy and cloudy afternoon to increase your odds of noticing short-eared owls glide across the wetlands in search of a few winged insects to eat. For the same reason, it’s a great place to look out for bats if you head out a little later.

Hilbre Island

Whether you’re interested in birds or not, a trip to Hilbre is a fantastic day out, but don’t be one of the foolhardy few who end up stranded on the island overnight or, worse still, in need of help from the lifeboats. Be sure to cross from West Kirby, heading left of and behind Little Eye before moving on to the two bigger islands, and check the tide times, which can be obtained from several West Kirby notice boards and shops. Wellies and waterproofs will be required too.

The trip is worth the preparation though, with common terns, purple sandpipers and oystercatchers making regular appearances on Hilbre Island, as well as the two smaller neighboring isles of Little Eye and Middle Eye. For the best sights, stay on the island as the tide comes in and watch the wading birds use it as a roosting spot. Don’t be surprised if you spot a grey seal or two either relaxing on the sands or frolicking in the water.

If you’d like to really get immersed into the birds’ habitats, gentle kayaking in Cheshire can allow you to spot the area’s wildlife as you paddle along the Dee.