I recently made a return visit to Formby woods, I was in the area with a friend and we were looking for somewhere nice to eat our pack up, where better? It as wonderful to see the place so busy: dog walkers heading to the beach, families in the picnic areas and groups (not gangs) of kids happily wandering the paths. Previously I had said that visitors had dwindled, but there was a very evident increase this time around: summer holidays and summer sun being a very possible inspiration, most of these visitors stumped up £4 to park. (Not us as we displayed our National Trust sticker proudly!)
Unfortunately, while the number of visitors appears to have increased, I can't say the animals have returned. The whole time we were there walking around we saw one magpie and a rather annoying red insect. Considering its alias of "the squirrel park" I've seen more squirrels in my locally than here. I still love it though; it's such a beautiful area. Despite the number of visitors the whole place remained peaceful and we were left undisturbed throughout.
I had forgotten what an absolute treat that this place is being so close to the city and yet at time feeling like you could be miles from anwhere.
Between the woodlands and sand dunes leading to a great beach, you can find acres of beautiful landscape to roam through. Freshfields is a local treasure for wildlife - steady, it's still only Merseyside so don't expect a safari! - as toads and squirrels are common but as a kid I was eager to come down here in the summer at dusk to see the bats flying through the trees overhead.
Formby's Freshfield Nature Reserve has been a long time favourite of mine due to the beauty of its landscape; I always find this place relaxing on a summer's stroll through its enchanting woodlands, as I keep my eyes peeled for elusive and rare red squirrels that roam.
To make the most of your day, you should not miss the stunning stretch of unspoilt coastline that features long sandy beaches and attractive pine woods. As you walk along the beaches, it makes a discovery to search for the 5000-year old red deer footprints that still remain.
My favourite part of Freshfield has to be the miles of sand dunes (one of the largest in the UK) and now home to many endangered species such as the Natterjack Toad and the Northern Dune Tiger Beetle.
Formby by far is one of the best nature reserves in the North West. A word of warning though, do not circumnavigate before it gets dark, as it's so easy to lose track and find yourself in the middle of nowhere. Make sure you visit with your friends and/or family because it makes an excellent day out!
The National Trust park at formby or the Squirrel Park or the Pine Woods is a lovely place to go when it's hot as the woods make it very cool there are abundant red Squirrels and feeding them is a popular activity for many children in the area. The Squirrel park is however National Trust and you have to pay to park but there is another car park about half a mile south of there where parking is usually free and the whole coastal area is beautiful with many paths to follow in fact you can walk all the way to Southport through this Park. I have seen Foxes roaming about and also a Fox cub.
Access to the beach is great if you like miles and miles of sandy beaches. The popular Fishermans Path which can be accessed from the carpark of Ainsdale Station takes you through a golf course then down through a great cross section of land to the sea.
Formby National Trust is absolutely top-notch. Countless times have I had enjoyable walks around the squirrel reserve and up to the beach. The place is beautifully maintained, with a picnic area for families, toilet facilities and an ice cream van (which seems to be there all year round). Parking is around 150m from the beach, so it is a little trek up there but wear some decent shoes and take supplies and you'll be fine.
Formby beach is my favourite North-West sands as it's always really clean and well cared for. On a particularly sunny day you'll feel like you're on holiday here!
A great place for a day out.
The Formby reserve has one of the only remaining colonies of red squirrels in the UK. A large car park provides great access to both the reserve and the Formby's award winning beach. The miles of sand dunes and pine forest make it the ideal place from running, taking the dogs for a walk and even taking the kids for a mini-adventure and a picnic.
A lovely cheap day out with the family to go and try and spot the squirrels in the nature reserve. The beach is also very very close by.
A beautiful place, and a great day out. We'll normally go for a picnic lunch in the woods first -- we'll be disappointed if we don't see at least half a dozen red squirrels -- and then we'll meander onto the beach for the afternoon, hopefully grabbing a pot full of blackberries on the way. The beach is flat and sandy, and never seems to be that crowded -- there's plenty of room for beach football or beach cricket if it takes your fancy. For us it's the nearest bit of seaside to our home, and our two (aged 3 and 5) love it there. Highly recommended.
Freshfields is a fantastic family day out. The squirrel park is easy to navigate and a lot of fun for the kids trying to spot the squirrels. The beach has always been very well looked after and you can have a really relaxing day. I think that it's definitely more of a summer venue though. You can really make a day of it if you take something to eat as there are so many things to do - The beach, the squirrel park, the woods. It's also fairly easy to get to by train and bus.
Always enjoy a vist to see the reds. We dont follow the usual route and start away from the main fenced trails where its quieter, such a lovely peaceful place for a stroll on a Sunday.
On a lazy Sunday, me and B will often board the Southport line and hop off at a few stops along the way. We've visited The National Trust reserve at Freshfield quite a few times and not once have we seen a red squirrel. Mind you, there was an outbreak of squirrel pox at the time. Even if you don't see any red squirrels, it's still a lovely, scenic route. I find it's perfect for getting away from the city and breathing-in the fresh sea air.
The National Trust red squirrel reserve at Formby is a great place to visit. The red squirrel reserve is situated in pinewoods between the town and the beach, and there are several marked walks along the paths through it. It is generally easy to spot the lovely red squirrels hopping and leaping around, although recently with the arrival of the squirrel pox virus there have been sadly fewer around to be seen. I have found that the best time to spot the squirrels is in the early evening when the reserve quietens down a bit and the squirrels start becoming more adventurous once all the dogs (and noisy children) have gone home. It's also right by the sand dunes and beach at Formby point, which is definitely worth a visit. The sefton coastal pathway passes by it, so it's a nice detour from there. There is a toilet block by the entrance to the reserve and there is usually a can selling drinks/ice cream by there and also at the car park by the beach. The reserve is easy to reach by public transport; take the merseyrail train to Freshfields then turn right out of the station and you will reach the entrance to the reserve after around a mile.
Very near my parents house and well worth a visit (the beach not my parents). The beach and pinewoods are beautiful. Really great place to go running and get a bit of fresh air. Also fab for kids as they get to see red squirrels up close and play on the beach. My dog always used to particularly enjoy down there as well.
The national trust at Formby offers a wonderful insight into the rare red squirrel and how it lives. The squirrels are very friendly and will happily come over to you and eat monkey nuts from your hand. There are planned walks to follow and it is an ideal day out for children. There is a picnic area and you can walk a little further to find the beach and the sand dunes. Parking is charged in the site itself but lots of people do park on the road leading upto the reserve for free. Take the camera and a rain mac!!
The squirrel reserve at Freshfield is a favourite outing in our family. Though the children can rarely stay still enough or quiet enough for a squirrel to come within 20 feet of them, they still enjoy pounding around the pinewood trails in search of their quarry. It's a very natural environment here, with no commercial enterprise allowed, bar the icecream van, so take a picnic if you're planning to stay the day. A walk on the seemingly never-ending sandy beach generally completes our day out. If you're really lucky, the sea might actually be within reach.
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