Get involved in the future of Formby

A family explore the sand dunes at Formby

Formby is a much-loved nature haven for wildlife and people. This glorious stretch of coastline boasts one of  Europe’s best sand dune habitats – caring for such a unique and changing coastline creates some interesting challenges and many exciting opportunities.

Together we can shape future plans to protect this precious landscape and the rare species that call it home, while ensuring this special place can be enjoyed by everyone who loves to visit, for ever.

On this page:

Our commitments to people and nature  

We know any plans for Formby must delicately balance coastal conservation work with the needs of the community who live here, as well as the needs of those who love to visit. We’re committed to:

  • Working with nature to restore and create important coastal habitats, so that rare species can thrive  
  • Improving access and the experience people have when they visit  
  • Listening to and involving National Trust volunteers and members, local people, and visitors in our plans to care for Formby 

Formby's shifting shoreline

Any frequent visitors to Formby will know that the landscape doesn’t stay the same for long. It’s one of the fastest changing stretches of coastline in the National Trust’s care. Find out more about Formby’s shifting shoreline by watching this video.

What's happening at Victoria Road?

For many years we’ve been exploring how to adapt to the natural changes at Victoria Road. The proposed way forward has been shaped through conversations with the local community, National Trust members and visitors, as well as advice from conservation specialists.  

This summer we’re submitting a planning application to Sefton Council to make some important changes to the coastline and car parking at Victoria Road. The proposed conservation work will remove the unsightly rubble spilling out on to the beach, restore rare wildlife habitats and create a healthier, more natural place for everyone to enjoy.

We’re proposing to restore the natural sand dune habitats at Victoria Road by removing the existing beach car park and associated construction rubble. The majority of the rubble materials would be used to create a replacement car park further inland.

" Sand dunes need to be free to move. This movement is what creates the habitats that rare species, including natterjack toads, need to thrive. Areas of naturally shifting, mobile sand are essential, but some of Formby’s sand dunes have become too stable and disconnected. Dense scrub vegetation has taken over and unnatural elements including old construction rubble and dumped tobacco waste are creating barriers for natural processes."
- Kate Martin – Lead Ranger, Formby and Central Lancashire
A map showing the proposed conservation work at Victoria Road, Formby.

See the map 

We've been working closely with conservation experts and architects to find the right solution for Victoria Road. Download the map of our proposal to see where dune restoration work would happen and the location of the proposed car park.

Benefits for nature and people at Victoria Road

If our planning application is successful, this conservation work will provide long-lasting benefits for people and wildlife, restoring Formby’s sand dunes to their natural state and making them more dynamic, re-invigorating the natural processes needed to protect and bring new life to the dunes, and re-connecting important sand dune habitats, creating space for wildlife to thrive. 

This proposal also includes the removal of unsightly and potentially hazardous rubble on the beach, creating a safer, more beautiful area for wildlife and visitors to enjoy. We are proposing to repurpose the majority of this rubble in the construction of a replacement car park at Victoria Road, avoiding the many thousands of lorry movements through Formby that would be required if we moved the rubble off the site. 

While we are proposing that we will remove the existing Victoria Road car park, the replacement car park would provide better laid out, more defined car parking spaces, making parking more efficient and improving traffic flow on and off the site. We would maintain the number of visitor car parking spaces in the long term – in the current car park, around 1/3 of spaces have been reclaimed by nature since the 1980s due to the natural movement of the sand dunes.

What will the short-term impact of the proposed work be?

If planning permission is granted there will be no National Trust car parking available at Victoria Road while we carry out the work.  

However, the National Trust car park at Lifeboat Road will be open as normal and the vast majority of Formby beach will still be open for visitors to enjoy.

We will continue to keep visitors to Formby updated on our page Planning your visit to Formby, which includes other coastal places to visit nearby, public transport information, plus tips on how visitors to Formby can be mindful of local residents.

Join the conversation

Your feedback matters! Questions and comments from those who love to visit Formby have really helped shaped our thinking so far. We want to hear what you think of these plans. 

Get in touch to share your views, or ask us anything about the work we do:

How is this project being funded?

This important project is being made possible thanks to a significant contribution towards the dune restoration work from the UK-wide Dynamic Dunescapes project with funding from EU LIFE and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, alongside the money raised from National Trust memberships and visitors.

What's happening at Lifeboat Road?

In 2017 the National Trust began caring for an additional 204 hectares of land at Lifeboat Road. On-going conversations with visitors, members and the local community highlighted the need to explore ways to improve facilities for those who love to visit including toilets, catering and a place for people to meet.


A vision for Lifeboat Road 

In 2019 we asked four architects to produce posters illustrating proposals for a new café and toilets at Lifeboat Road that would complement the natural environment. We asked local people for their views – here's what they said.

After putting our plans for Lifeboat Road on hold due to the pandemic, we have recently started to move forward with our ambition for Lifeboat Road. Watch this space for updates.

Latest updates

18 Jun 21

Victoria Road proposals published

More information about our plan for the rubble on the beach at Victoria Road, as well as a proposal to relocate the existing Victoria Road car park, has been published. Everyone is invited to share their views and get in touch on

01 Nov 20

Victoria Road project restarts

The conservation project at Victoria Road restarts, having been paused due to the impact of coronavirus.

01 Apr 20

Projects paused

Due to the impact of coronavirus, a large proportion of National Trust projects are put on hold or deferred and many staff furloughed.