Easy woodland stroll at Formby

National Trust Formby, Victoria Road, Freshfield, Formby, Liverpool, L37 1LJ

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Red Squirrel sitting in sunshine on woodland floor at Formby © Richard Taylor

Red Squirrel sitting in sunshine on woodland floor at Formby

Early morning sunlight streaming through pine trees at Formby © National Trust/Gordon Parmenter

Early morning sunlight streaming through pine trees at Formby

Christmas tree fences used for sand dune restoration at Formby © National Trust/Gordon Parmenter

Christmas tree fences used for sand dune restoration at Formby

Route overview

This walk winds through broadleaf and pine woodlands before finishing at our sand dunes.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Formby Easy Woodland Stroll map
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Beach car park at National Trust, Victoria Road, Formby, grid ref: SD274082

  1. Facing the sand dunes take the wide path on the left approximately half way along the length of the car park. This path can be identified by the blue bridle path sign at its entrance. After a few metres the path forks, take the left fork along a broad path down through a small section of woodland.

  2. As the path emerges from the woodland take the first path on your left which leads away from the sand dunes, past a bench, and curves left past some wooden bollards into some mature broadleaf woodland.

  3. Follow this clear, compacted path through the woodland and after approximately ΒΌ mile there is a wide fork in the path. Take the right fork continuing on the level past an enclosed picnic area on your right (please note that dogs are not permitted within the enclosed picnic area). Continue straight on this path as it narrows with a pine plantation on your right and a steep bank on your left.

  4. Continue on until you reach a path junction on a fenced trail. At this point take the boardwalk path on the right and follow this boardwalk as it bends round to the left and up a slope.

    Show/HideRed squirrels

    National Trust Formby is part of the Sefton stronghold for the native red squirrel, one of 17 strongholds in the North of England. Autumn and spring are when the squirrels are most active but they can be seen out and about in these woodlands all year round. Have a look out for the feeders in the trees as this is often a good place to catch a glimpse of these shy creatures.

    Red Squirrel sitting in sunshine on woodland floor at Formby © Richard Taylor
  5. At the end of the boardwalk continue to the top of slope, here you will meet a crossroads of paths. Take the fenced path on your left. Follow this as it bends round sharply to the left. A short distance after this bend there are 2 fenced paths to your right, take the first of these paths and it will bring you out on to a roadside opposite the public toilets.

  6. Cross the road and take the path (marked Cornerstone path) to the left of the toilets, heading down a ramp into the woodland. Continue to follow this clear, broad path with its white and purple marker posts through the woodland until you meet another path at a T-junction with a set of large wooden chimes on your left hand side.

    Show/HidePine woodlands

    The pine woodlands were planted from the late 1800s by the Weld Blundell family, whose estate covered this area. Before the trees were planted, this area would have been fixed sand dunes covered in grassland and if you look closely you can still make out the shape of the dunes underneath the trees. Over the years these trees have been a valuable windbreak for the fields used for asparagus cultivation and the neighbouring residential area. Of course now they are most renowned as the home of the rare native red squirrel.

    Early morning sunlight streaming through pine trees at Formby © National Trust/Gordon Parmenter
  7. Turn left at this junction and continue to follow the waymarked Cornerstone path. At a fork, take the right path and continue along this wide stone path as it meanders through the mixed woodland and out into an open area. Continue along this path until it reaches an access track at the base of the sand dunes. Turn left along this track and follow it back to the beach car park.

    Show/HideSand dune restoration

    When looking at the sand dunes you may notice something that at first appears to be out of place: lines and lines of Christmas trees. Some areas of the dunes have become vulnerable due to the loss of marram grass, the natural dune stabiliser, caused mainly by trampling. This leaves the dunes bare which means that the wind can blow the sand off them leading to flattening of the dunes and the blown sand covering the road, paths and car park. The trees are part of a restoration project to help to reduce the sand movement and stabilise the dunes.

    Christmas tree fences used for sand dune restoration at Formby © National Trust/Gordon Parmenter

End: Beach car park at National Trust, Victoria Road, Formby, grid ref: SD274082

Great British Walk

 © National Trust/Gordon Parmenter
  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1.4 miles (2.2km)
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • OS Map: Explorer 285 Southport and Chorley (Not all paths are marked on OS map)
  • Terrain:

    Easily marked paths with a few short steep slopes. Paths are a mixture of stone and compacted earth with small sections of exposed sand and boardwalk. Dogs are welcome throughout the property but we ask that they are kept under close control at all times and that any dog waste is picked up and removed. We ask dogs are kept on a lead on Squirrel Walk to prevent disturbance to the red squirrels.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: Sefton Coastal Path passes through National Trust Formby

    By cycle: National Trust Formby 3 miles (4.8km) from NCN62

    By train: Freshfield Station, on Merseyrail Northern Line, 1 mile (1.6 km) walk to National Trust Formby

    By car: 2 miles (3.2km) off A565. Follow brown tourist signs from roundabout at the north end of Formby bypass (by BP garage). Park at the National Trust car park at Victoria Road, Formby - car park charges apply for non National Trust members. Sat Nav: use postcode L37 1LJ

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