Wildlife at Formby

A red squirrel eats a nut at the base of a tree at Formby

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.

Red squirrels

In 2007 the deadly squirrel pox virus reached the Formby area, wiping out around 80% of the red squirrel population. A hard winter further reduced the population to only 15% of the pre-pox level. However since then the population has recovered; it is back to approximately 85% of spring 2002 levels.

The University of Liverpool have carried out a study on the red squirrels of the Sefton Coast and looked at the effects of the squirrel pox virus on this popualtion, for more details please watch this video.

Although red squirrels are active all year round the best time to see them is in Spring and Autumn as this is when they are at their most active. They like to come out first thing in the morning to feed and we have a number of squirrel feeders placed in trees on our Squirrel Walk which are good places to head to get a glimpse. If you want a longer walk then why not try our downloadable trail.

Sand dune wildlife

Formby and Sefton Coast dunes provide important breeding sites for a number of rare sand dune species, including a number of European Protected Species and Red Data Book species. These include the nocturnal Natterjack Toad, the colourful Sand Lizard, the fascinating Northern Dune Tiger Beetle and the beautiful Dune Helleborine.
These animals thrive in the mosaic of habitats that can be found on the mobile sand dunes or on their margins. It is due to these fragile dune habitats and the rare species that live in them that this area is covered by both national and international conservation designations. Click here to learn more about some of these wonderful sand dune animals.



With such a varied landscape there's a huge variety of birds to be seen at Formby. A recent survey of the beach included knot, Arctic tern, gulls, bar-tailed godwit, oystercatcher, sanderling and dunlin. 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.

In Autumn you can 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.

Get into conservation

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