Horse riding at Formby
Formby is a great place to take your horse for a gentle ride along the beach and through the woodland. In order to make the most of your trip and to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable ride please read the information below.
Peak season visits (Easter to end of September)
We recommend that you avoid bringing your horse to Formby on busy weekends, when the weather is warm and sunny, and during school holidays. This is due to there often being long traffic queues to get on to site and limited or no space for horse boxes or trailers to park.
Access and parking
Horse boxes (and all vehicles taller than 2.3m) are now required to park on the field at Lifeboat Road car park. From 5 October 2020, the field at Lifeboat Road will be gated shut overnight between 3pm-9am. Any remaining vehicles will be locked in.
Please be aware that the surface of the field at Lifeboat Road is uneven and may become boggy in wet weather.
Access to Lifeboat Road car park is via a narrow road with passing places. There is no horsebox parking available at Victoria Road car park. For current parking charges, please go to the prices section at the top of our homepage.
Please be aware that there is no water supply or grazing area at Lifeboat Road so you will need to bring all water and feed that your horse will need with you.
Keeping it tidy
In order to keep the site clean and tidy for other users, you will need to remove all horse related debris (including faeces) from the field car park and surrounding area. Please take this debris away with you and dispose of it responsibly.
Where can I ride?
The only access to and from the beach for horses is via the Lifeboat Road path. This path across the sand dunes is marked by waymarkers and can be accessed from Lifeboat Road car park. Once on the beach you can ride South as far as Altcar Rifle Range (red flags on the dunes mark the boundary of this live firing range) and North as far as Ainsdale. Please be aware from Easter to September that you cannot ride through the seasonal marked bathing areas at Formby or Ainsdale between 10am and 6pm. These areas are marked by red and yellow flags on the beach and are patrolled by RNLI lifeguards.
For an inland ride, there is a short section of public bridlepath that runs through the woodlands from Lifeboat Road to Wicks Lane in Formby.
You can download a map of the bridlepath at Formby here. Horses are not allowed to use any paths or areas other than those stated above and marked on the map.
Formby is on Liverpool bay which has one of the highest tidal ranges in the UK. This means that often when we have a high tide the entire beach goes underwater. It is therefore very important for your safety that you check the tide times carefully for the day that you plan to ride. Avoid riding on the beach for approximately 2 hours either side of the high tide time.
The beach along the Sefton Coast is an internationally important area for feeding and roosting birds. A lot of these birds stop here on their migration to either their breeding or overwintering grounds. It is very important that they remain as undisturbed as possible so that they can build up a store of energy to complete their long and often difficult journey. In order to help these birds DO NOT ride your horse through the flocks. Avoid riding your horse on the beach for approximately 2 hours either side of high tide.
Formby is famous for having 5000 year old footprints of both humans and animals preserved in silt beds on the beach. These silt beds can be easily damaged by horses being ridden over them. The silt beds show as areas of dark brown muddy sediment on the beach so avoid these areas when riding.
Other important information
Hundreds of thousands of people visit Formby each year and we want all of our visitors to have a safe and enjoyable visit. In order to ensure your safety and the safety of other beach users we ask you to be aware or adhere to the following:
- Never ride your horse at full gallop. You may find that there are sections of dry soft sand which could lead a galloping horse to stumble.
- The beach has many hidden dangers including deep channels, patches of soft sand and rubble. These dangers may move across or along the beach over time. Please take care when riding and pick your route carefully.
- Do not allow your horse to go too far out on the beach as the tide may come in behind you and cut you off.
- There are likely to be loose dogs on the beach and across the site. Although we ask that dogs are kept under close control we are aware that not all dog owners take proper responsibility so please be aware of this issue when riding.
- Please keep younger and less experienced riders and horses under close supervision.
- Please be aware that estate vehicles use the bridle path for access and are also driven along the beach.