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Ainsdale and Birkdale Sandhills Nature Reserve

Off Coastal Road, Ainsdale, Merseyside, PR8 2QB

Add Ainsdale and Birkdale Sandhills Nature Reserve to your Itinerary

Ainsdale and Birkdale Sandhills Nature Reserve


The Ainsdale & Birkdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve includes the stunning Ainsdale Hills, Birkdale Hills, Frontals, Sands Lake, Velvet Trail and Birkdale Beach.

This local Nature Reserve is one of the largest areas of wild dunes (268 hectares) left in Britain and is managed by Sefton Coast and Countryside Service.

It's typical of most sand dune systems with high dune ridges and dune valleys containing slacks; wet hollows with many unusual plants and animals such as orchids and the scarce Natterjack Toad.

The reserve is particularly rich in plant life and during the summer, damp slacks are carpeted with flowers including Early-marsh Orchid, Marsh Helleborine and Grass of Parnassus. In drier areas the Round-leaved Winter-green and nationally rare Dune Helleborine can be found.

The Ainsdale Discovery Centre is a popular place for visitors. The collection of shells is added to daily by members of the public and all of the many FREE information booklets and brochures are available from the centre.

The nearby Sands Lake Trail is now officially open and the clearly marked boardwalk is particularly suitable for mobility impaired visitors to experience the typical flora and fauna of the coast.
Please take note of beach safety flags and signage.
Sefton Council Byelaws Apply



  • Dogs Accepted - Dogs welcome. Please clean up after your dog at all times. Please keep out of Natterjack Breeding Pools and prevent disturbance to ground-nesting birds in spring and summer.
  • Toilets - Available at Shore Road beach entrance.

Parking & Transport

  • On site parking - Beach parking off Shore Road, Ainsdale Car park charge Easter to September. Season tickets are available. No coaches. Beach parking closed on high tides. Limited parking at Ainsdale Discovery Centre, Royal Birkdale and Weld Road car parks.


Map & Directions

Road Directions

17 miles north of Liverpool, 1 mile west of Ainsdale and 2 miles south of Southport off the Coastal Road.

Public Transport Directions

Northern Line – Aindale Station 1 mile, Nearby: Hillside Station and Birkdale Station
Local Bus service - contact Merseytravel

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