The Sefton Coast
This is a fascinating stretch of wild beaches, heaths and dunes stretching 20km from Birkdale to Crosby on Liverpool’s northern edge. It has one of the longest dune systems in Britain, a stronghold of the natterjack toad. The toads, known locally as the ‘Birkdale Nightingale’ or “Bootle Organ” after the cacophonous mating call of the male, breed in the shallow pools known as slacks which form here.
Birkdale beach by Jean Sprackland
The Birkdale coast was intimately portrayed in Jean Sprackland’s Strands – A Year of Discoveries on the Beach (2012) More
Sand lizards of Sefton
The Sefton dunes are one of the last British strongholds of the sand lizard. More
Formby’s red squirrels
The southernmost mainland population of red squirrels in Britain. More
8,000 year old footprints of humans and other mammals. More
Liverpool’s urban wildlife
Steven Moss writing in The Guardian:
“The city of the Beatles and the Liver Birds is surprisingly good for wildlife. The lake in Sefton Park, a 235-acre oasis of green in the city centre, is home to waterbirds including great crested grebes and cormorants, while water voles can sometimes be seen around the streams that run into the lake. Court Hey Park is excellent for woodland birds, including nuthatch and a range of breeding warblers in spring and summer. The park is also home to the National Wildflower Centre, a great place to learn about our native plants and flowers. But the jewel in Liverpool’s wildlife crown is without doubt the Mersey. Now that shipping traffic has declined, the river’s estuary supports vast flocks of wintering waders and wildfowl and is internationally important for pintail, teal, wigeon, shelduck, redshank and dunlin. At the mouth of the estuary, Seaforth nature reserve regularly attracts scarce and rare birds, including Leach’s petrels in autumn (usually after fierce north-westerly gales).” Read
National Wildflower Centre
The National Wildflower Centre is in Court Hey Park, 5 miles from Liverpool city centre. It was set up as it says on the tin to “promote the creation of new wildflower habitats for people to enjoy and where wildlife can flourish and develop”.
Websites and books
For a general natural history and historical guide to the coast see Sands of Time Revisited (2009). Difficult to find outside Merseyside but highly recommended.