3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

What the locals really think of Birkdale

PUBLISHED: 00:00 27 February 2015 | UPDATED: 14:15 11 February 2016

Alex Curran arriving at a Bistro in Birkdale to meet her husband, Steven Gerrard for lunch

Alex Curran arriving at a Bistro in Birkdale to meet her husband, Steven Gerrard for lunch

© WENN Ltd / Alamy

This bustling coastal community is stepping out of the shadow of Southport with an interesting array of independent traders and friendly service, writes Rebekka O’Grady

Birkdale Village shopsBirkdale Village shops

Although it’s most famous for its golf club, there is more to Birkdale than meets the eye. The Victorian village, split by the Southport-Liverpool railway line, features many shops tucked below architectural canopies – and those shops are keen to stage a revival.

‘High streets are dying,’ said Pat Parry, co-ordinator of the Birkdale Traders’ Association. ‘Birkdale village is a vibrant and unique place full of independent traders, and that is something we don’t want to lose.’

Pat, along with chairman Malcolm Browne, set up the association in summer 2013 to support and create opportunities for the continual development of the village, which is also a designated conservation area. ‘More people are becoming involved’ said Pat. ‘There are around 50 businesses in the village and 90 per cent of the traders are involved.’

As a shopkeeper himself, Malcolm was keen to get the association off the ground. ‘When Pat approached me with the idea to form the BTA, I thought: “at last!’” said Malcolm, who moved his shoe business, Schunanigans, from Southport into Birkdale five years ago.

Birkdale StationBirkdale Station

The other member of the committee is vice-chair Joanne Halliday, the owner of Halliday of Birkdale fish mongers.

‘Around 30 traders will attend any one meeting and we try to get together every other month depending on events,’ added Malcolm. Events are something the association is enthusiastic to promote. Last year, they organised a summer fair and Victorian Christmas event in the centre of the village.

‘People were dancing in the street,’ laughed Malcolm. ‘Due to the success, we are hoping to organise these events again as well as a St George’s Day fair event on April 25, which we are looking for sponsors for.’

A village that comes alive during the day and night, both Pat and Malcolm are urging the local community to make more use of the amenities that they have here. From independent grocers and bakers to quality butchers and fish mongers, people can purchase their weekly shop from their local traders.

‘We have achieved the right balance in the village,’ said Malcolm. ‘The bars and restaurants aren’t taking over retailers and this creates a really nice atmosphere. People just need to take the time out to stop and really have a look here.’

Birkdale VillageBirkdale Village

In an effort to boost the village’s increasing evening economy, the trees that line the high street will be adorned with lights that will be switched on 365-days-a-year.

‘They will look really attractive in the evenings,’ said Pat. ‘We want Birkdale to be a place where people can visit for a number of things, whether it be a family day out or shopping, to an evening meal or a few drinks in the wine bar.’

 

 

 

Manager, Steve Deven, and assistant, Josh Rimmer at Broughs ButchersManager, Steve Deven, and assistant, Josh Rimmer at Broughs Butchers

A cut above

A familiar sight on Birkdale’s high street, the award-winning Brough’s Butchers has been owned by Dave Allen and Tony Brough since 1993. A real family business, Tony also owns butchers in Ainsdale, Formby, Ormskirk, Kew and Dockside. In his partnership with Dave, Broughs of Birkdale became quickly established as the go-to place for quality meats in the village and Southport.

The store has been managed by Steve Deven for 12 years, who moved up from London after marrying his wife who is from Liverpool. ‘Birkdale is a cracking place to work in,’ said Steve, who lives in Waterloo. ‘You come in here and get a real personal touch and service – something you don’t have in a supermarket.’

Steve, who describes Brough’s as a traditional butcher with a contemporary difference, says that you have everything you could possibly want in the village. ‘Birkdale is a foodie heaven.  

‘We just have to try to entice people to come here and have a look around instead of going straight the way through to Southport.’

Laura Napp with an armful of decorative umbrellas at her Birkdale Antiques shopLaura Napp with an armful of decorative umbrellas at her Birkdale Antiques shop

 

Name in lights

John and Laura Napp have been trading in Birkdale for the past 18 years. Their business, Birkdale Antiques, specialise in antique and vintage chandeliers, lamps and wall lights. ‘Our original store is located by Royal Birkdale Golf Course,’ said Laura, who in November 2013 extended their business to include a property within the centre of the village. ‘It’s a busier location here. We have now turned the other store into a workshop.’

The husband and wife team source their items from all over the world and John often flies to Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic to find interesting items the couple can then restore into their former glory. Birkdale Antiques are also a stockist for luxury Italian umbrella brand, Pasotti. These handmade umbrellas feature glamorous handles that are often adorned with Swarovski crystals.

‘We really enjoy working in Birkdale,’ said Laura. ‘The village has such a nice feel and the annual events organised by the traders’ association are great fun.’

Joanne Matthews at The Birkdale Cheese CentreJoanne Matthews at The Birkdale Cheese Centre

 

Homage to fromage

‘What Birkdale offers is such a great variety,’ said Joanne Matthews, owner of the Birkdale Cheese Centre which is situated in the heart of the village. ‘All of the traders and shops liaise and work really well together to promote each others business.’

Although the fromagerie has been in Birkdale village for over 20 years, Joanne has been running the business for the past three years. ‘I really wanted to bring back a total focus on cheese,’ said Joanne, who was born in Southport. ‘We have recently started to make our own cheddar too.’

Birkdale cheddar, which is produced in Preston, was started during the village’s summer fair in 2014. ‘It’s really popular with ex-pats of the north west who want a taste of the area with them.’

 

Birkdale in brief

Where is it?

Just over one mile away from Southport, Birkdale sits in West Lancashire near to the coast. Postcode for sat-nav: PR8 4AZ

Where to park?

You can park on the main high street, Liverpool Road, for free for two hours. Birkdale Railway Station is also easily accessible, running across this main road. Regular rail services run through to Liverpool and Southport every 15 minutes from Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sunday.

What else is there to do?

Red Squirrel Nature Reserve. If you take a short train journey or drive to Formby, you will arrive at the National Trust’s Red Squirrel walk. Perfect for a stroll or perhaps even take a picnic. Sand dunes. Birkdale is part of the Ainsdale and Birkdale sandhills local nature reserve, one of the largest areas of wild dune land left in Britain. Wrap up warm and take a walk along the Velvet Trail.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, September 21, 2018

The first ever National GetOutside Day takes place on Sunday 30 September with the aim of getting 1 million people active outdoors across the UK.

Read more

Meet some of the devilishly successful people who make this glorious Ribble Valley town tick.

Read more
Clitheroe
Friday, September 14, 2018

The site was designated Lancashire’s first ever ‘Local Nature Reserve’ in 1968 and is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Read more
Lytham
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A striking sculpture attracts John Lenehan to this circular walk through some oustanding scenery.

Read more
Friday, September 7, 2018

This varied selection of walks are all within ten miles of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Natural Beauty.

Read more
Arnside Silverdale
Monday, September 10, 2018

Making a television programme about the Lakes has re-affirmed Paul Rose’s deep affection for the area

Read more
Lake District
Friday, September 7, 2018

A succesful application could see the restoration of the Japanese Gardens and the creation of a water sports centre.

Read more

Is it a village? Is it a town? Who cares when the locals take such a pride in making this such a lovely place to visit

Read more
Thursday, August 30, 2018

A new survey method could unlock the secrets of the bog bush cricket in Lancashire following their discovery on Little Woolden Moss, Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Ellie Sherlock joins the search.

Read more
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Heritage venues across the region – many of them not normally open to the public – will welcome visitors this month

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

It’s officially England’s favourite flower and if you want to see some beautiful examples, follow Linda Viney to Mawdesley

Read more
Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A circular walk which skirts the Lune estuary and takes in the Lancaster Canal and the railway line.

Read more

Behind the ancient sandstone facade of Browsholme Hall is a remarkable ethos of 21st century sustainability and care for the environment.

Read more
Bowland
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Keswick really is a gem of a town – just ask anyone from jeweller Brian Fulton to mountaineering legend Sir Chris Bonington

Read more
Keswick

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search