We started our walk from by the National Trust notice board at the Squirrel Reserve at Formby, one of the few remaining places in the country where the Red Squirrels can be found.
A couple of years ago about 80% of the squirrel population was wiped out by the Squirrel Pox Virus but they are now making a comeback. The weather early in the morning was cold and damp so we did not see any squirrels. They were all holed up in their dens.
We headed south through the pinewoods and crossed old asparagus fields to reach Lifeboat Road. We climbed over the dunes to drop down to the beach close to the remains of the old Formby Lifeboat Station.
Only the foundations remain but this was the site of the first lifeboat station in the UK. It was established in 1776 by William Hutchinson, the Dock Master for the Liverpool Common Council. In 1774 eighteen ships were stranded at the mouth of the Mersey and 75 people were drowned. The last boat to be launched from the station was in 1916.
We headed north along the beach to round Formby Point looking to see what had been washed up by the tide. The action of the wind and the waves over the winter had caused a lot of erosion of the dunes revealing layers of sediment. Close inspection revealed traces of organic matter.
Further out on the beach erosion of sand has revealed human and animal footprints in sediment that was laid down in the late Neolithic/ Early Bronze Age ( 3500 – 4000 years ago)
Efforts are being made to dry and stop the erosion and stabilise the dunes by recycling old Christmas trees to produce a dune fence.
We left the beach at Gypsy Path and headed back through the dunes towards the pinewoods. We passed a couple of pools which are breeding grounds for the rare Natterjack Toad. Formby is one of the few remaining sites in England where these toads breed.
Near the end of the walk we passed some tubular wood chimes. Wendy could not resist having a go. She was supposed to be playing – Twinkle twinkle little star, but I think the pipes were out of tune.
A pleasant six mile stroll.
Peter leaps over the giant dog!!!!!