15 Mar A day out in Formby
I’m always really pleased when the National Trust ask me to write a guidebook about one of its stretches of coast. The NT looks after 742 miles of UK coast, much of it bought through its Neptune Coastline Campaign which is now in its 52nd year. Previously I have written guidebooks on The Tin Coast in Cornwall, the Gower Peninsula in South Wales (Rhossili beach is one of its most visited sites) and Brownsea Island in Dorset. This time, however, the call was to write about Formby beach near Liverpool.
The best bit about writing these guidebooks is that I get to spend a day or two with the rangers who manage the site. Informed and enthusiastic, they are the folk who have all the information. They also have Land Rovers, in which we bowl around the coast as they point out interesting habitats, wildlife and historical features.
This time, I arrived early so I went for a walk to explore. It was a blustery winter day and no one was about. I thought I had discovered an amazing, unpopulated golden beach, above, that few people were aware of. This is not the case at all: the beach is indeed amazing, vast and golden but the population of Liverpool and surrounding areas are well aware of it: in the summer queues to the car park stretch for miles. Many come to see the Red Squirrels (and are rarely disappointed: they are friendly and numerous), or to simply to sit on the sand or in the dunes. On this occasion, the weather had kept them away.