Formby is a town in the borough of
Historically a part of Lancashire, it now forms part of the
Liverpool City Region. Formby was built on the plain adjoining the
Irish Sea coast. Largely a residential town, Formby becomes a
tourist hot spot during the summer months, with day trippers
attracted to its beaches, sand dunes, and wildlife.
The common place-name ending -by is from the
Scandinavian abyr meaning "homestead", "settlement" or
Formby Hall is a Grade II listed building dating back to 1223.
It has traditionally been the home of the Lords of the Manor. Much
of the land around it is now a golf course.
Formby beach is the location of the first lifeboat station in
the UK. Established perhaps as early as 1776 by William Hutchinson,
Dock Master for the Liverpool Common Council. It was the first
lifeboat station in the United Kingdom, and possibly the world. The
foundations of the last of the lifeboat station buildings remain on
the beach. The last launch took place in 1916.
Formby is home to RAF Woodvale, a small RAF station on the
outskirts of the town. The airport, opened in 1941, is a former WW2
fighter base with three active runways, the main runway being a
mile in length. It is used by RAF for light aircraft and fighter
training, as well as a few civilian aircraft. The station is also
home to Merseyside Police's helicopter, known as 'Mike One'. The
RAF Station was also home to the last ever operational service of
the British legend, the Spitfire.
Until 1974, Formby was an urban district (Formby Urban District)
within the administrative county of Lancashire. Since 1 April 1974,
it has formed part of the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, in
Formby is a coastal town roughly 17 km², part of Sefton
in the north west of Merseyside. The town is built upon the west of
a large flat area of land called the West Lancashire Coastal Plain.
The town is 0.5 metres below sea level at its lowest point.
Formby's highest point is within the sand dunes that separate the
Irish Sea from Formby, sand dunes are ever changing in shape and
formation so there is no fixed point. The River Alt runs in to the
Irish Sea just south of Formby at Hightown.
The section of land between Formby and the coast is varied in
vegetation, wildlife and terrain. This area includes pine forests:
natural and man-made, sand dunes, marram grass, deciduous woodland,
seasonal ponds and lakes. Large areas of this land are protected by
the National Trust.
The Formby Bypass (A565) was built over fifty years ago to take
the major Liverpool to Southport route out of Formby and cut
alongside the fringe of the town. Motorway access is easily
accessible, the M58 and M57 are both 8 miles from Formby.
There are two railway stations, the first being Formby railway
station and the second less than a mile north, Freshfield railway
station. Both are on the Northern Line of the Merseyrail network,
which runs from Liverpool to Southport. Trains are frequent and are
a popular way of commuting, especially to Liverpool.
Bus services in the town are provided by Arriva, Stagecoach and
In addition to motorized transport, Formby is served by
excellent cycle routes, mainly centring around the pinewoods along
the coast leading to both Southport and Liverpool. There are also
many cycle lanes on the roads leading to the larger conurbations to
the north and south.
To the west of the town lie pinewoods and sand dunes. The whole
of the coastline here is managed as a Special Area of Conservation
(SAC) for its important wildlife reserves by Sefton Coast
Partnership. The pine woods at Victoria Road have been established
as a National Trust reserve for the red squirrel, listed on the
endangered species list. Formby is one of several sites in Britain
were the red squirrel can still be found although it is now being
threatened by the grey squirrel. It was revealed in 2008 that the
numbers of red squirrels at Formby have recently declined by 80% as
a result of Squirrel parapoxvirus.
Formby is also famous for the presence of natterjack toads.
Formby is only one of a few sites in England where they will
This stretch of coast is famous for links golf courses such as
Southport and Ainsdale, Hillside, West Lancashire, Hesketh and
Royal Birkdale. Formby is home to another championship quality golf
course - Formby Golf Club. However, the club, unlike its neighbour
Royal Birkdale, does not have the capacity to host large events
such as The Open Championship. It also has a cricket club based
down Cricket Path in Freshfield; this also has squash courts and a
large AstroTurf hockey pitch. Formby has a football team called
Formby F.C. who play in the North West Counties Football League
In addition a variety of youth sporting groups are based in
In 2007, Formby Vikings Rugby Union Team was established to
include a wide range of ages including a colts first 15 team.
Please find links below relevant to your area.
For information on Conservation, Ward Boundaries, Civil Parish
Boundaries, Parliamentary Constituencies, Planning
Applications and Enforcements please go to Sefton online
Information on Nurseries/ Preschool Playgroups, Children’s
Centres, Sports Centres, Residential Care Homes, Nursing Homes,
Doctors, Dentists, Opticians and Pharmacies can also be found
Last Updated on 3/4/2013