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Horse riding at Formby

Two women riding their horses on the beach with sea and waves in the background
People enjoying a horse ride on the beach | © Trevor Ray Hart

Formby is a great place to take your horse for a gentle ride along the beach and through the woodlands. Here's some useful information and top tips to help you make the most of your trip and have a safe and enjoyable ride.

Access and parking

Head to Lifeboat Road (L37 2EB) Bay 3 to park your horse box.
Access to Lifeboat Road car park is via a narrow road with passing places.

Lifeboat Road car park has limited space available for horse boxes and large vehicles.

We recommend visiting on quieter days as we can’t guarantee parking for horse boxes on busy days, which tend to be at weekends, during school and bank holidays or on hot, sunny days. Even on quieter days it's best to arrive as early as possible in the morning.

The event field / overflow car park is currently closed as the condition of the ground is not suitable for any vehicles at this time.

Thank you for being mindful of other visitors and parking your vehicle between the bay lines of one space if you can (the parking bays are standard 2.4 metres wide by 4.8 metres long).

Please don’t hesitate to contact the team before you visit to chat through access and parking. Call 01704 878 591 or send an email to

If you need help with parking when you arrive please pop and see the welcome team in the National Trust van.

No parking at Victoria Road for horse boxes

Please note that due to space restrictions and limited turning circles it is not possible to park horse boxes at Victoria Road. Please head to the Lifeboat Road car park (L37 2EB).

Group bookings

If you’re visiting as part of a group of horse riders, with multiple horse box vehicles, please book your parking in advance by filling in the group booking request form.


Please be aware that there is no water supply or grazing area at Lifeboat Road so remember to bring all water and feed that your horse will need with you.

Love it here? Don't leave it here.

To keep the site clean and tidy for others, please 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.

For an inland ride, there is a short section of public bridle path that runs through the woodlands from Lifeboat Road to Wicks Lane in Formby. 

Please download a map of the bridle path at Formby before you visit. Click here

To help protect all the wonderful wildlife at Formby and prevent damage to paths horses are not allowed on any paths or areas other than those stated above and marked on the map. Please do not take horses on the Lifeboat Road beach boardwalk. Thank you for your support.

Check tide times

Formby is on Liverpool Bay, which has one of the highest tidal ranges in the UK. This means that often at high tide the entire beach goes underwater. For the safety of you and your horse please check the tide times carefully for the day that you plan to ride. Horses must not be ridden on the beach within two hours either side of high tide. 

The beach and sand dunes at Formby, Liverpool
The beach and sand dunes at Formby, Liverpool | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Protecting wildlife 

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. You can help give birds a break by not disturbing them on the shoreline so that they can build up a store of energy to complete their long and often difficult journey.

Please note that the Sefton Council Public Space Protection Order (PSPO - click here to view), introduced in July 2022 details specific restrictions for horse riders to help protect the special Sefton Coast landscape and the wildlife that calls it home, whilst keeping everyone who loves to visit safe;

  1. Horses are not allowed into the designated bathing areas between 1st May and 30th September, nor to enter vegetated areas on or adjacent to the beach or to ride through flocks of roosting/feeding birds or gallop anywhere on the beach.
  2. Horses must not be ridden dangerously or within 2 hours either side of high tide.
  3. Horses are not allowed to be ridden on the coast other than on designated bridleways and those beaches with access via an authorised route.

Protecting the past

Formby is famous for having prehistoric 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.

Top tips for a safe and enjoyable ride

Hundreds of thousands of people visit Formby each year and we want all visitors to have a safe and enjoyable visit. To ensure your safety and the safety of others, please be aware of 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 let 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  follow this guidance so please be aware of this when riding.
  • We recommend keeping younger and less experienced riders and horses under close watch.
  • Please be aware NT Formby staff vehicles use the bridle path for access and are also driven along the beach.
The beach and sea at Formby, Merseyside

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