WORK to improve access along Wirral's network of public footpaths has taken place ahead of this year's walking festival.

Nearly 50 traditional stiles have been replaced by step-through concertina gates and a further 26 to follow.

Improvements have also been made to surfaces on some paths as the council seeks to encourage more people to enjoy the area’s extensive countryside.

In phase one of the project, 48 traditional stiles have been replaced across the footpath network and some surface improvements made to the public bridleway along Limbo Lane, near Irby, between Thingwall Road and Arrowe Brook Lane and the public bridleway along Roman Road from Prenton to Storeton.

May’s month-long Wirral Walking Festival attracts walkers of all ages and abilities into the borough.

The works to replace the stiles has been made possible due to funding from the Public Health Outcomes Fund.

Cllr Chris Meaden, Wirral's cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "It is a major priority for us to improve the health and fitness of residents and reduce the health inequalities that exist in the borough.

"Walking and cycling are two significant things that people can easily do to improve their overall wellbeing, so ensuring our public paths and rights of way are accessible to the majority of residents and visitors is a significant step forward."

Details of the Wirral Walking Festival, including a downloadable brochure featuring all of the 100 or so walks planned during May, is available from