Visiting Formby with your dog

Formby Dog walker on beach

Formby's nature haven is the perfect place to walk your dog whatever the time of year. We want you to enjoy your time here with your four-legged friends, so here’s some useful information to help you plan your walk.

Where can my dog go?

Well behaved dogs are welcome to wander with you right across the site. We do ask that dogs are put on a lead along the Squirrel Walk. This helps protect the precious red squirrels and gives you and fellow visitors more chance of spotting one. Please keep dogs under close control across the rest of the site. It’s always best to keep them on a lead if you’re unsure.

Our definition of close control is:

  • Being able to recall your dogs in any situation at the first call.
  • Being able to clearly see your dog at all times.
  • Not allowing them to approach other visitors without their consent.
  • Having a lead with you to use if you encounter wildlife or are asked to use one.

In partnership with Forthglade we’ve created a few simple tips;

  • Take the lead: help reduce the chance of your pup disturbing wildlife by keeping them on a lead.
  • Scoop that poop: bag it and bin it to keep your favourite places beautiful.
  • Paws for thought: look out for information signs highlighting areas to avoid at certain times, such as during breeding seasons for rare species.

Help us protect Formby’s precious wildlife

We know how much some dogs love to run free but please remember there’s lots of wild creatures out and about and we need your help to protect them.  Many of Formby’s rare species are protected by law and we must be careful not to disturb them. This is particularly important during breeding seasons.

Natterjack toads emerge from hibernation and lay their spawn in the dune pools between March - August. You can help their chances of breeding successfully by keeping your dog well away from the pools, so they don’t disturb the spawn, tadpoles and toadlets.

Great crested newts will also be laying their eggs in the dune pools between March – June.

Sand lizards and common lizards also emerge from hibernation and start breeding in May, but it’s unlikely your pet will get too close to these shy, and very fast critters.

Ground nesting birds like skylark and meadow pipits, and low nesters like whitethroat and reed bunting will be trying to raise families. Varying your walking route helps reduce the chance of disturbing nest sites repeatedly. Some species may adopt hovering distraction displays to lead you away from their nests. Unfortunately, this gives their nest position away to egg stealing animals including magpies and stoats.

Wading and sea birds can often be seen in flocks along the shoreline particularly during the autumn and winter months including knots, oystercatchers, sanderlings, dunlins, terns and sandpipers. Many are resting and preparing to travel thousands of miles when they migrate. It’s a wonderful sight to see but please keep dogs from running through them as flying away suddenly makes them use up vital energy reserves, which they need for their long journey ahead.

Facilities available for your dog

Parking - although we do have some shaded areas in our car park, please don’t leave your dog unattended in a car as even on cloudy or cooler days a dog can overheat quickly.

Refreshments – at Victoria Road self-filling water bowls can be found by the toilets and in the parking areas. There’s also a woodland picnic area where dogs on a lead are welcome to join you. At Lifeboat Road the welcome team usually have a dog bowl and water.

Toilets – please bring poo bags with you and clean up after your pet. No-one likes to step in dog mess. Dog waste bags decorating the trees or left on the beach are unsightly and can also cause significant damage to the nature around you. Please dispose of your poo-bags in the large car park bins, in the bins on pavements nearby or take them home.

Leads - if you forget your lead please ask at the car park entrance as we may have a spare that you could use.

Be aware of harmful bits and pieces

All kinds of interesting things wash up on the beach every day. In amongst the treasures there can be harmful bits and pieces, particularly for our furry friends. Please be aware and try to avoid your dog eating anything on the beach.

Be mindful of other visitors

Much as we love your furry friends, please spare a thought for those who don’t. Some people really don’t want dogs near them even if they are only being friendly.

Horse riders may ride across the beach from Formby to Ainsdale and on some of the paths across the site. Be aware that horses may spook and kick out if they are frightened by a dog. Please prevent your dog from barking at horses or running up to them.