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Butterfly Cycle Route

Formby Railway station, Formby, Merseyside, L37 2HJ

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Butterfly Cycle Route


This circular route, from Freshfield Railway Station, goes along the north of Formby and then passes through or near several Nature Reserves.

You will pass through the home of butterflies, sand lizards and natterjack toads at the Ainsdale Sand Dunes Reserve before reaching Formby Golf Club and Freshfield Dune Heath Nature Reserve.

You will also pass RAF Woodvale and Burrough’s Wood.

  1. From the railway station, travel along Victoria Road before turning left onto Gores Road and then right onto Massam’s Lane, going past the awarding winning public house, ‘The Freshfield’ which was built in 1893. The area is named after Thomas Fresh who was instrumental in getting the railway station built. His former home is on Freshfield Road.
  2. From Massam’s Lane turn left onto Rimmers Avenue and then right onto Stanley Road continuing along St Anne’s Road. One of the original Formby Cottages still exists on Massam’s Lane.
  3. Continue forward before turning right onto Paradise Lane and first left onto Brackenway. Follow Brackenway to its junction with Deansgate Lane North and go straight across onto Hawksworth Drive.
  4. At the end of Hawksworth Drive first turn left and then right onto the off-road cycle track before crossing the A565, Formby Bypass, onto Eight Acre Lane.
  5. Follow Eight Acre Lane then turn right onto Southport Old Road and then left onto North Moss Lane, passing North Moss Stables. Continue straight onto the off-road cycle route (National Cycle Route 62), bear left and go past Burrough’s Wood on your left.
  6. On reaching Plex Moss Lane turn left and continue until you reach Moor Lane and the A565. Go straight across the A565 and join the cycle track on the right hand side of the road using the pedestrian crossing. To the left of the bypass in the woods is the old Formby Hall built in 1523 and updated in 1896, it is no longer open to the public.
  7. Continue along the track until you cross the bridge over the railway line. Take a right onto the cycle path and follow it round under the same bridge, continuing into the Ainsdale Sand Dunes Nature Reserve.
  8. Follow the cycle path through the Nature Reserve, where regular walks and events are held by Natural England. On your right you might see Butterflies such as painted ladies, common blue, commas, peacocks, red admirals and meadow browns, especially in the summer. Continue along the stone track, through the reserve until you reach Fishermans Path. To the right, this path leads to the beach, but it is not suitable for cycling.
  9. Turn left and follow the path across Formby Golf Club, this section must be walked, to the level crossing.
  10. Cross the level crossing and turn right, passing the edge of RAF Woodvale. This was opened in 1941 during World War Two. There are currently four flying units based at RAF Woodvale: Liverpool University Air Squadron, Manchester and Salford Universities Air Squadron, No 10 Air Experience Flight and No 631 Volunteer Gliding Squadron. You will also pass the Lancashire Wildlife Trust site, and the Freshfield Dune Heath Nature Reserve.
  11. Pass through the gate and follow the path to the right running in parallel with the railway line, onto Montagu Road which takes you back to Freshfield Railway Station.


  • Easy / moderate
  • Off road or on quiet roads
  • Distance 7 miles
  • Time 55-70 mins

Bikes can be hired from Souhtport Train Station or the Eco Visitor Centre


Map & Directions

Opening Times

Open (1 Jan 2023 - 31 Dec 2023)

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