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

Ancient footprints

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

Excellent selection of wildlife articles on the Sefton coast

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.