We love a good beach adventure. They’re great year-round options for some all-important family outdoor time. In fact, thinking about it, we probably visit the beach more during the Winter and Spring than we do during the Summer. They’re less crowded, on the whole, meaning that a peaceful walk suitable for even the smallest of legs is always a possibility. One of our favourite beaches is Formby Beach. This National Trust property, complete with Red Squirrel forest to explore, has all you could want for a laidback family adventure in the great outdoors.
Formby Beach is a gorgeous stretch of Merseyside coastline that is well deserving of a family walk or stroll. It does, however, contain so much more to explore and experience. People from miles around may be drawn to its golden sands, but this particular stretch of coastline hides some unique secrets.
You see, Formby beach is witnessing a period of erosion. This is not necessarily a new phenomenon as Formby beach and Point have experienced previous periods of erosion, where layers of land are lost to the elements. What this erosion has done, however, is uncover an ancient landscape at low tide. As the seas pull back, the foot prints of humans and animals that roamed this land up to 5000 years ago can be seen. As a result, it’s well worth checking the tide time before you visit. The National Trust also run family-friendly walks out to these pre-historic footprints, so check their website for times and dates.
Now, there is a lot of negativity surrounding the topic of erosion and rightly so. Where erosion has been caused by humans, we must do everything in our power to minimise and reduce this. If we don’t, we risk irretrievable damage to the landscapes that we all enjoy. However, the natural erosion of coastlines is not, as I alluded to above, a new thing. Where this quite leaves Formby beach in the very long term we don’t quite know. All that we can hope for is that another period of accretion (where the land actually grows naturally), as happened at the end of the 19th Century, comes back to boost Formby beach, restoring its size and confirming its long-term future. At present, Formby beach is exceedingly well managed by the National Trust so, at the very least, it’s short term future is a bright one.
We like to begin our family walk around Formby beach in the forest. This broadleaf and pine woodland is also home to colonies of Red squirrels. Again, local groups, such as the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, run regular activities where you can meet the squirrel feeders and listen to information about how these groups support the local squirrel population. You’ll even get some good tips on how to spot them.
Making your way along the woodland trail, there are several sections that open out. These make for a nice change in scenery and give the kids chance to spread their wings away from the forest path. One is a dedicated picnic area, complete with benches and the like, which is particularly welcome should you want to dine alfresco as a family.
Next, you’ll reach the dunes. These are well worthy of exploration as their sheer size and scale make them a pretty impressive sight. We love clambering up them in the soft sand and finding a hidden cove or spot away from the wind on a cold day to have a flask of hot chocolate.
Last, but certainly not least, you can walk as far as the littlest legs in your brigade will carry them along Formby beach itself. This gorgeous stretch of coastline offers views far and wide on a clear day, so take your time and soak them up. The beach, being a National Trust property, is super-clean and really is a fantastic destination for a family day out. The fact that you have the added interest of several circular walks in the area, such as the one outlined above, only adds to the interest.
Distance: approximately 3 miles depending how much of the beach you want to explore.
Car park: £6.50 (free for NT members)