Coast and Countryside
Sefton's Natural Coast is the perfect setting for those who
want to get away from it all and explore. Stretching out over 22
miles this unique and tranquil coastline in the North West of
England comprises beautiful beaches, sand dunes, woodland and
farmland and is a haven for flora and fauna.
Sefton's Natural Coast is an area of open space and
tranquillity close to the popular towns of Crosby, Formby and
Ainsdale along with Southport, England's Classic Resort.
Great for walking, cycling and a range of other activities,
each year thousands of people visit the beautiful coast and
countryside for a family day out. Wherever you are in Sefton you
are never far from nature and wildlife co-existing with
The Leisure Services Department's Coast and Countryside Service is
responsible for coast and countryside sites and foreshore owned by
For further information please use
the links to the right
Sefton Coast and Countryside Service
is based at the Ainsdale
(external link) and made up of the Coast and
Countryside Rangers, Beach Patrol and Lifeguard Unit and Community
Rangers, all working as a team to make Sefton's coast and
countryside sites a better and safer place for people and
The Sefton Coast is one of the largest
and most spectacular sand dune systems in the country, supporting a
huge variety of plants and animals.
The special wildlife and habitats along with
its spectacular landscapes are the reasons the Sefton Coast is
given so many protective designations. Sefton Council, in managing
its land for people as well as wildlife, is responsible for parts
of the coast designated as a EU Special Protection Area under the
Birds Directive or as a EU proposed Special Area of Conservation,
under the Habitats Directive. Together both of these designations
identify the Sefton Coast as a 'Natura 2000' site and part of a
wider network of important European wildlife sites. Most of the
coast is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest under
UK law and as a 'Ramsar Site' under the 1970's international
convention of the same name, which aims to protect important
wetland sites and migrating shorebird populations.
The Brookvale Nature Reserve on the Rimrose Valley Country
Park was designated because of its important peat and reed-bed
habitats as well as its importance for local people. Landscaping
and the creation of pools at the opposite end of Rimrose Valley
Country Park have also increased the potential sites for wildlife
in the area.
Each year thousands of people visit Sefton's coast and countryside
sites, whether for a family day out or a quiet walk through the
countryside. Wherever you are in Sefton you are never far from one
of these sites, where you will find the wildlife and visitors
existing side by side. The management techniques employed on the
sites whether coastal or urban reflect this, and allow the balance
to be maintained.
Working with the other agencies on the coast National Trust,
English Nature, RSPB and Lancashire Wildlife Trust with Sefton
Coast and Countryside Service forms part of the Sefton Coast
Partnership. The Coast and Countryside Service is supported by a
network of volunteers.
Ainsdale Discovery Centre
This is proving a popular place for
visitors to the coast to pop into on their way to the beach. The
collection of shells has increased over time - being added to daily
by members of the public.
The Velvet Trail
The trail is now officially open and
clearly marked with way markers. It is a circular route following
the 'Green Beach' from Weld Road southwards, then winding through
the dunes back to Weld Road. The Trail takes its name from the
carpets of lush vegetation seen there in the early summer months.
It was well known at the turn of the century, when it proved to be
one of the coast's main attractions. Who knows, with the
development of a leaflet and educational resources, it may well
become just as popular.
The Mersey Forest
The Mersey Forest is not just about
planting trees but also creating other habitats and encouraging
people, both locals and tourists to get out and enjoy their local
environment. Watch out for specific Mersey Forest events throughout
is one of the easiest forms of exercise
for most people, yet we don't do it enough! Unlike many forms of
exercise it doesn't cost you anything, as there are many places in
your local area suitable for walking. As well as the physical
benefits it provides, walking can also provide a variety of social
Some of the walks in our
program combine walking with finding out about the surrounding
environment, making it a very enjoyable past time.
Flora and Fauna
Throughout the year Sefton's coast and
countryside sites are flourishing places for both flora and fauna.
Butterflies and dragonflies appreciate the warmth and during 2005,
Orange Tip, Small Heath, Common Blue and Green-veined White
butterflies were all seen fluttering around in the dunes. The warm
weather also encourages dragonflies and damselflies - Emperor, Four
Spotted Chasers and Broad Bodied Chaser were seen darting around
Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Skylarks and
Meadow Pipits all favoured the 'New Marsh' at Birkdale for nesting
- all four species raised chicks there.
Swallows were seen swooping around
the Ainsdale Discovery Centre throughout the summer and nested on
the building for the second year.
Snow Buntings were seen feeding on
the 'New Marsh' over winter, whilst numbers of wading birds on the
shore remained high.
A whole variety of birds returned
from their wintering grounds in Africa to breed on Rimrose valley
species included; Reed, Sedge, Grasshopper and Willow Warblers
along with the Chiff Chaffs. Four Spotted Chasers and Blue Tailed
and Azure Damselflies were readily seen around the pools, whilst
Brimstone and Orange Tip butterflies were seen flying around the
A variety of flowers carpeted the
site, including several species of orchid.
Sand Lizards have been seen in
several areas along the coast where they haven't been recorded
before, so there may be more of them out there than we
Last Updated on 10/18/2012