Stand on the beach at Formby on a sunny summers day and you could be forgiven for forgetting that you are only half an hour from the heavy industries of Liverpool docklands.
The golden sands are backed by extensive sand dunes. The dunes are a wildlife haven, being home to some rare plantlife as well as birds and other animals. There’s an area which has a red squirrel population. The dunes are criss crossed with extensive footpaths and the occasional viewing areas on some of the higher points. Some of the pathways are termed as “Board Walks” which means they are constructed pathways. They are popular with child buggy pushers as well as wheel chair users. There are a number of information boards placed strategically, with maps which show the various pathways.
Don’t be surprised to see old, long since discarded Christmas trees sticking out from the dunes. When we throw out our Christmas trees every January, one of the ways they are recycled is by using them to reinforce and stabilise the sand dunes. Sand dunes are often a constantly changing environment, the sands can be shifted and rearranged by not only the gentle breeze, but by stormy weather too.
Christmas trees aren’t the only waste product to have been used to try to stabilise sand dunes. When you arrive at the beach, do you notice an aroma of tobacco? If so, there’s a good reason for that, as I’ll explain. Many years a go, there was a tobacco factory nearby. Waste tobacco left over from the production processes would be compressed into blocks. These blocks were used as “foundations” for some of the Formby sand dunes. Over the years, thanks to the erosion of the dunes, the tobacco waste blocks occasionally come back to the surface and can even be found littered across the beach!
You may also notice some building remains. These remains once formed a life boat station. That’s why the road to Formby beach is called Lifeboat Road! Although there is not much to be seen of the remains, they are historically important as this is the site of Britains very first Lifeboat Station. Talking of boats, ferries making their way to and from Ireland can often be seen, appearing remarkably close to the beach!
There are no facilities at Formby Beach, so don’t forget to pack a picnic and some bottled water! There is often an ice cream van in the main car parking area though – a welcome sight on the hotter days!
If you fancy a swim, then an appropriate area is marked out when the life guards are on duty.
There is plentiful car parking just after the caravan site on Lifeboat Road. (Free of charge when we visited)
Nearest postcode for Sat Nav is L37 2EB
(There is a second car park at the end of Victoria Road, but we didn’t have time to check that one out .)