The Former Site Of The Old Rainhill Hospital

Where Is Rainhill?

Rainhill is located in Merseyside, roughly between Liverpool and Manchester, but more towards the Liverpool end. It’s a small village with a rich history and is most famously known as the site of the Rainhill Trials back in 1829 where George Stephensons Rocket was triumphant (A story for another blog maybe). 

29mm, F4, 1/800s, iso 2000

Here’s the link to Rainhill on Google Maps, just incase your not familiar with the area.

Rainhill Hospital

It was also home to Rainhill Psychiatric Hospital or Lunatic Asylum as it was more commonly known back then. It first opened in 1851 and held over 3000 patients at one point, making it one of the largest asylums in Europe at that time. The site was eventually closed in 1992 and demolished in the same year to make way for a retirement village and a housing estate. 

So quite a lot of history on this site then.

I’ve linked to Rainhill Remembers website where you can see an image of how the hospital once looked.

The Site Now

Like I say, the site is now home to mainly houses and also a retirement village, but a large portion of the site has been reclaimed by nature and is becoming heavily populated by trees. It’s quite a young woodland that’s still establishing itself but it does have some very old trees that were no doubt around in the early days of the hospital. If trees could talk, imagine the stories they could tell you. 

It’s also home to an abundance of different wildlife who like to feast on the Fungi I wanted to photograph lol. 

The perimeter stone wall still largely exists and if you ever drive past the old site, it will give you some idea of how vast it once was. 

‘Somebody’s Lunch”
40mm, F4, 1/320s, iso 640
‘The Young Ones’
12mm, F2.8, 1/125s, iso 250

Misty Morning

On this particular morning, there was a thick blanket of fog covering Rainhill and one thing that us photographers love when photographing woodland, is a bit of mist. It really enhances how the forest looks and when edited in the right way, it can give a real mystical feeling to your image. 

Usually, the mist or fog doesn’t hang around for long in the woodland, so you need to be quick. As soon as I had dropped the kids off at school, I headed straight to the forest. Luckily, the mist stuck around for an hour or so after I arrived giving me chance to capture a few different images but this one being my personal favourite from that day.

12mm, F8, 1/4s, iso 200

The foreground tree is the dominant subject in this image, but the light also draws your eye towards the other trees in the background which are in the thick of the mist creating a journey through the image. 

More Misty Images

‘Suns Up’
24mm, F2.8, 1/100s, iso 250
“Tunnel of Light’
20mm, F2.8, 1/125s, iso 200


Fungi is not hard to come by here, but it is difficult to find any that hasn’t been half eaten by the wildlife. That said, I did come across a couple of young ‘Coprinellus Disseminatus’ or the ‘The Fairy Ink Cap’ as they’re also known, sprouting from the side of a tree. One was wrapping itself around the other giving the impression that they were in love. I did revisit this exact spot about a week later, but these two had gone.

‘A beautiful Love Story”
40mm, F3.2, 1/6s, iso 64


As you walk around this place, every now and then there is a suggestion of it’s previous life, a man whole cover here, a tarmac foot path there, or a certain object left behind.

Not 100% sure what this, maybe the base of a temporary metal fence
Old concrete steps
A leaf sat on part of an old tarmac path

Images From My Previous Visits

Natures red carpet
An old boy
Autumn Leaves
More Fungi
Standing out
A soft landing
A bottle top embedded in the tree
The Entrance

This is a place that I will be visiting over and over again so if you’d like to see more pictures of this woodland, please follow me on Facebook

Also if you have any thoughts or feedback, I’d love to hear them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s