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Formby Walks

Start: Freshfield Train Station, Victoria Road, Formby, Liverpool, Merseyside

Tel: +44 (0)1704 533333

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Formby Dunes

About

ROUTE ONE

This circular walk of 6.8 km (4.25 miles) starts at and returns to Freshfield Station, on the Merseyrail Liverpool to Southport Northern line. The route from the station to Southport Road passing through the Green Lane Conservation Area is on hard surfaced footpaths and roadways, whereas the other footpaths, bridleways and byways can get very muddy after rain .

From Freshfield Station, cross Victoria Road into Freshfield Road and then turn left into Grange Lane. The distinctive buildings on the right are Tower House and Tower Grange, claimed to incorporate part of a 13th century monastic grange that belonged to Whalley Abbey.

At Gores Lane turn right passing the early 18th century thatched cottage opposite to come to a large house with the interesting name of ‘Long Yort’, which is old Lancashire dialect for yard. Immediately left is the Cricket Path, which skirts the cricket pitch to arrive on Green Lane and St. Peter’s Church.

Founded in 1747, St. Peter’s is the centre of the Green Lane Conservation Area and like the church the cottages on the west side of Green Lane are 18th century or earlier. Following the signposted Church Path running alongside St. Peter’s to its end, we turn right into Paradise Lane and reach the junction of Ryeground Lane and Southport Road. With another 18th century cottage on our left at the junction, carry on down Ryeground Lane and where it turns sharp right go straight on into New Road and then turn left into Clifton Road.

Turn right onto the footpath behind the houses and head for the end of the overgrown hedge half left, where a passageway exits onto Deansgate Lane, where we turn right and then immediately left into Moss Side. At the footpath sign on your right after number 22 Moss Side, enter the Moss Side playing fields where a footpath runs adjacent to the hedgerow until it meets Mittens Lane.

Following the Mittens Lane track to your left we soon come to the busy Formby Bypass, which must be crossed with great care to rejoin Mittens Lane on the far side. Climbing a stile half left, a way marked path is followed over several stiles with the embankment of Downholland Brook on your right, to reach Moss Side again. In summer this section of our walk is full of birdsong, with Skylarks, Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats, whilst in winter the peaty mosslands are home to huge flocks of Pink-footed Geese.

Crossing Moss Side we continue on Little Hey Lane, which gives access to the Golf Centre on the left and on reaching the drainage ditch, the former course of Downholland Brook, we turn sharp left into Pasture Lane, which we follow for 500 metres.

Go straight on along Southport Old Road to a crossroads near the kennels and a cattery, where we turn left along Eight Acre Lane to carefully re-cross the bypass and rejoin the track on the other side. This pleasant track, marked as a bridleway, continues as Sixteen Acre Lane to reach Paradise Lane at Kenton Wood stables. The long billed Curlew, probing for earthworms in the rich soil, often frequents the open pastures to your right.

Turning right, then immediately left, we enter Little Brewery Lane and then along Brewery Lane to West Lane, to reach the railway line again at Montagu Road. The gorse-covered heathland to the north is now a new nature reserve, Freshfield Dune Heath, managed by the Local Wildlife Trust. It’s very beautiful in spring and summer, when Yellowhammers and Linnets sing from the tops of the yellow gorse bushes and in autumn, the entire area is covered in the rich purple flowers of heather.

On reaching the railway, we turn left down Montagu Road for 500 metres, to complete our circular walk and return to our starting point at Freshfield Station. Formby has many pubs and cafes with toilet facilities.

ROUTE TWO

Leaving Freshfield Station, turn left into Victoria Road and then left into Gores Avenue, where a bend in the road takes us into Rimmers Avenue and on to the unmade footpath towards Freshfield Dune Heath. At the crossroads in the paths, we go straight ahead until we reach the level crossing, where we cross CAREFULLY into Formby Golf Course and continue along Fisherman’s Path, until we reach the new Coastal Footpath after a metal gate on the left.

At this point we make a short detour along the original route of the path, following purple-topped way-markers, crossing some small dunes until we reach the beach. On a clear day, the views across the Irish Sea are outstanding and a stroll along the beach can produce many of the shorebirds that make Sefton’s Natural Coast so important for wildlife.

Retracing our steps, we enjoy a nice walk back through the pinewoods frequented by Red Squirrels, following the yellow way-markers along the edge of the golf course. We soon reach Victoria Road, passing the National Trust Reserve Visitor Centre. On reaching the main road, we turn left to complete our walk back at Freshfield Station.

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Map & Directions

Road Directions

Approx 15miles north of Liverpool city centre, in Formby, 2miles off A565 and 6miles south of Southport.

Public Transport Directions

The walking routes start and end at Freshfields Station.

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