A view across the Marram and Sea-lyme sand dunes © Joe Cornish

A view across the Marram and Sea-lyme sand dunes

A varied landscape with diverse wildlife

With long stretches of beach, sand dunes, pine forests and deciduous woodland stretching over 500 acres, Formby's varied terrain has a diverse range of wildlife.

Wildlife at Formby

  • A Formby red squirrel enjoying some afternoon sunshine © Peter Barsby

    Red squirrels

    Three years ago the deadly squirrel pox virus reached the Formby area, wiping out around 80 percent of the red squirrel population. A hard winter further reduced the population to only 15 percent of the pre-pox level.  Since then the population has recovered and is back to almost 60 percent of spring 2002 levels and rising.

    Spot the squirrels as you stroll through the woodland on our Red Squirrel Walk; read more about them here.

  • A Natterjack toad © National Trust

    Natterjack toads

    Formby and the Sefton Coast dunes provide important breeding sites for the rare Natterjack toad. On early May evenings, the male's distinctive song can be heard. This cacophonous mating call is known locally as the ‘Birkdale Nightingale’.

    The dunes at Formby are drier than Ainsdale and Birkdale so National Trust Rangers have created three new breeding pools for the Natterjacks. These ‘toad scrapes’ were funded with a grant from the Million Ponds Project & Biffaward.

  • This great spotted woodpecker has a beak full of insects © northeastwildlife.co.uk


    With such a varied landscape there is a huge variety of birds to be seen at Formby. A recent survey included knot, Arctic tern, gulls, bar-tailed godwit, oystercatcher, sanderling and dunlin seen from the beach. The woodlands are home to tree creepers, nuthatch and greater spotted woodpecker while redpoll, siskin and crossbill can be seen from time to time. In the dunes, favourite sightings include meadowpit, skylark and wheatear.

    Now autumn is here listen for the distinctive sound of pink footed geese as they fly between feeding sites on the Alt and the stubble fields of West Lancashire.

Red squirrels are fighting back at Formby

A study by the University of Liverpool has found that the red squirrel population along the Sefton coastline appears to be recovering from a serious outbreak of squirrel pox in 2008.

Get into conservation

Formby has a team of dedicated National Trust Rangers and volunteers who protect the landscape. If you have ever thought of volunteering or getting involved in conservation please get in touch.