The submerged forest of Meols is one of Wirrals strangest phenomena's.  The prehistoric forest at one
time stretched far out into what is now the Irish Sea consisting of a dense canopy of foliage inhabited
by many breeds of animals lost since extinct .  

Through natural tidal activities the water overran the forest and settlement and left the land which we
see today at Meols.  Here at low water the last remains of tree stumps and roots sunk into clay can
sometimes be seen.  

The first written record of the submerged forest was in the Iter-Lancastrense of 1636:

But greater wonder calls me hence, ye deepe
Low spongie mosses yet rememberence keepe
Of Noahs flood, on numbers infinite
Of fir trees swaines doe in their cesses light
And in summe places, when the sea doth bate
Down from ye shoare, tis wonder to relate
How many thousands of theis trees now stand
Black broken on their rootes, which once drie land
Did cover, whence turfs Neptune yields to showe
He did not always to theis borders flow

Philip Sulley writes in 1889:
"The trees appear to have been thicker towards the Dee end of the Wirral with them becoming smaller and
less dense towards Leasowe.  The trees are mainly Oak, with some Fir, and appear to a certain extend, to
have been planted.  Many are of great size, in 1857 a tree 35 feet long was found.  Some of the roots and
trunks to be seen at low tide are of great thickness, and large quantities of wood have been taken from here,
the black oak having been put to practical muse for making furniture.  The inroads of the sea are so great
that portions of the forest are being constantly washed away and a fresh surface laid bare inland.  William
banks who was resident here and discovered antiquities for more than half a century, states that the forest,
as described by Dr Hume in his book on Ancient t Meols in  1863, has been completely destroyed.  Yet there
is no diminution in the extent, and doubtless this forest called submarine but more properly subterranean,
extends for a considerable distance inland.  It crops up at the banks of the Wallasey pool along the line of the
new railway from Birkenhead Park to the old dock station; and was uncovered by the Great Meols railway
station when the large ponds were excavated there".   

More than just a forest
Of course the area did not just consist of a prehistoric forest.  The finds have shown that a large
settlement has existed here some distance from todays shoreline.  The movement of the waters in this
area is extremely heavy as can be seen with the disappearance of the lost
church and the lost
lighthouse at Leasowe, and we can conclude that this settlement was completely lost under the

In the latter part of the 19th century all that remained of the ancient township of Meols was the
foundations of Mediaeval buildings, apparently of timber and plaster on brick, puddled with the blue
clay precisely as at Hilbre.  

The most interesting description is that of E.W Cox in 1895 which states that:
"The remains of circular stone huts, up to two feet below high-water mark, made of wattled wood
coated with clay, and the ground was abundantly marked with hoofs of horses with round shoes, and
with the foot marks of cattle, pigs and sheep".  

On the earliest reliable map which is that of Visscher in 1650, Meols is the only place in Wirral to have
been recorded as having two separate roads leading in and out of it showing the growth of the
community in that area.   We can only wonder what archaeological treasure lay beneath the water at
Meols and Leasowe, but some local historians have already began to try and find out.  Peter France
and John Emmett have teamed up with archaeological divers McDonald's Marine and American Sub Sea
specialists Deeptrek.  Together they are investigating the remains of a settlement at Meols and hope to
show the results in a forthcoming television show on Discovery and National Geographic.  Watch this
space . . .