Beaches

2021 Covid-19 Restrictions

Find the latest info on restrictions here.

Covid-19 Restrictions: From 29th March 2021

From Monday 29th March 2021, we enter the next phase in the gradual relaxation of lockdown restrictions.

Some restrictions to limit the risk of infection from Covid-19 are therefore to be lifted as part of step 1 of the government’s roadmap.

Once again this has some impact on the services provided by Green Sefton and how that affects our visitors, volunteers and staff to many of our outdoor spaces. Full details can be found here. 

The Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership are also working together to cautiously welcome people back to the Sefton coast, but is urging people to stay local, to be considerate of others and to plan ahead before visiting beaches and coastal areas. 

Watch Green Sefton Service Manager Mark Shaw as he talks about a cautious and careful return to the coast as restrictions on outdoor socialising ease but people are urged to still stay local.

Protecting the Sefton coast

Sefton’s entire coastline is environmentally sensitive and protected – please respect this precious landscape.

Leave nothing but your footprints – take all your rubbish home with you and recycle wherever possible.

Car parking and the coast

Plan ahead and know where you can park at the coast. Check your local radio stations for traffic updates. 

Follow our signs when we tell you our car parks are full, we’ll do what we can to direct you to alternative parking.

Anti-social, irresponsible and illegal car parking is a key priority for our enforcement officers to tackle and resources will be increased in areas where issues continue.

Parking in residential areas can mean that emergency vehicles don’t have the access they need, it causes concerns for residents and you could find yourself with a parking fine.

  • The beach car parks at Ainsdale and Southport are scheduled to reopen at the beginning of April 2021.
  • Check tide times, here.
  • You can also view our beach parking Terms of Use.

During the summer (1st April – 30th September), beach car parking is available at Ainsdale (PR8 2QB) and Southport (PR9 1RX). However, beach car parking can be affected by the tide, the weather or for other reasons, and parking charges apply.

The all-day charge for parking during 2021 on Ainsdale beach is £10 and a new cashless payment system is being introduced. For regular visitors who are Sefton residents, and those who drive an electric or hybrid car, they can purchase a reduced rate £30 season ticket (non-refundable). Discounted evening rates (50% off the all-day charge) after 4pm will be subject to further car parking management arrangements for the 2021 season. 

An online form to purchase beach car parking season tickets is available here. 

This funding provides essential support to contribute to the costs to provide our services and preserve the natural beauty of our coastline for generations to come.   

Crosby beach is backed by a promenade, from where you can safely view the Another Place ‘Iron Men’. There are several pay and display car parks adjacent or close to the promenade.

Car parking for the beach at Formby is managed by the National Trust.

Alternative travel to the Sefton coast

We have an excellent rail service along the Sefton coast. The Merseyrail northern line runs regularly in both directions between Liverpool and Southport with most coastal locations only a short walk away.

Sefton is also served by several bus service providers, from Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach, so why not give the bus a try.

There are plenty of different cycle routes and bike hire available at both the Eco Visitor Centre and Southport Train Station. Plus, you can take you bike for free, and without the need to pre-book, on the Merseyrail network.

Travelling by other ways to the coast helps to reduce your carbon footprint too.

Don’t forget hands, face and space – protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19 when using public transport.

Access to beaches varies by location and in some areas it may be difficult for pushchairs and wheelchairs to gain access.

Toilets

There are public toilet facilities at all Sefton coastal sites and extra temporary loos will be made available at Ainsdale and Crosby beach in 2021, in a way that is safe for users and the staff required to keep facilities clean and sterilised.

Please use the facilities provided and do not use the beaches, dunes or the sea to go to the toilet. 

Make sure you wash your hands after using public toilets or use the hand sanitiser provided at the portable loos. Keep regularly using hand sanitiser when visiting the coast, to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Bathing water and the RNLI

Only Formby, Ainsdale and Southport are designated bathing beaches. During the summer water samples are taken and there are RNLI Beach Lifeguards on duty.

Crosby Beach is not a designated bathing water.


There are two dog exclusion zones in place from 1st May to 30th September: 

  • Southport beach is free of dogs starting from the Pier south towards Pleasureland (for 555m) and to the tide line.
  • Ainsdale Beach is free of dogs 200m either side of the main beach entrance and to the tide line.

Both the dog exclusion zones are well signed during the summer season.

Some basic rules when bringing your dog to the coast: 

  • Keep your dog under close control at all times. If you cannot control your dog, keep it on a lead.
  • Keep your dog out of pools of water or slacks (the dips where water gathers) on the dunes as there are a variety of rare flora and fauna that shouldn't be disturbed. 
  • Never let your dog roam around the coast unattended. A dog out of sight might be out of control. 
  • You must clean up after your dog. Failure to clean up dog waste is an offence under the cleaner Neighbourhoods Act 2005. You could incur a £75 fixed penalty or be fined up to £1000 if prosecuted. 

Picnics are allowed along Sefton's beaches, provided visitors make sure they take away all their rubbish when they leave the beach.

We frequently empty our coastal bins. Green Sefton Rangers can empty them up to 10 times a day when it’s busy and it can take around four days to fully clean up after a busy weekend at the Sefton coast. Help us out and take your litter home with you and recycle where possible.

There will be more bins and skips at the coast to help keep our beaches clean – please use them or better still bin your rubbish at home.

Barbecues are strictly not allowed. This is due to the potential fire risk, injuries caused by discarded barbecuing kits and potential damage to habitats.

Aside from being dangerous, fires are difficult and costly to put out and pull emergency services away from other important areas of their work.

We actively encourage visitors to our beautiful coastline to enjoy it safely and to treat the surrounding natural habitats and fellow visitors with respect.

Yes you can park on the beach car parks at Southport and Ainsdale during the spring and summer. However, they can be reduced in size or closed depending on tidal conditions or at other times for reasons such as severe weather or organised events.

The all-day charge for parking on Ainsdale beach is £10. A new cashless payment system is to be introduced for the 2021 season.
 
For regular visitors, Sefton Council offers a money-saving £30 annual season ticket (non-refundable) for parking on Ainsdale Beach, also available for those who drive a hybrid or electric car. This funding provides essential support to contribute to the costs to provide our services and preserve the natural beauty of our coastline for generations to come. 

The quickest and easiest way to buy your beach parking contract ticket is to buy online using the e-form.  

You can call 0345 140 0845 or email coast.countryside@sefton.gov.uk for further enquiries. 

There are public toilet facilities at all Sefton coastal sites and extra temporary loos will be made available at Ainsdale and Crosby beach in spring/summer 2021, in a way that is safe for users and the staff required to keep facilities clean and sterilised.

Please use the facilities provided and do not use the beaches, dunes or the sea to go to the toilet. 

Make sure you wash your hands after using public toilets or use the hand sanitiser provided at the portable loos. Keep regularly using hand sanitiser when visiting the coast, to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Horse riders must possess current and valid personal and third party liability insurance. Please observe these basic rules:

  • Keep younger and less experienced riders and horses under close supervision
  • Never ride your horse at full gallop
  • Horses are excluded from all bathing areas
  • Do not allow your horse to go too far out into the sea
  • Avoid riding on the beaches for 2 hours either side of high tide and never ride through flocks of wading birds
  • Horses are not permitted in the dunes
  • Local Nature Reserve Byelaws and Sandhill Bylaws apply
  • To avoid congestion, do not  park your box or trailer at the main entrance to Ainsdale Beach
  • Please clear up all your horse related debris and remove it from the beach, do not leave behind any dung or straw 
  • Be considerate to all other beach users
  • To avoid disturbing flocks of wading birds

Ainsdale and Southport have RNLI Lifeguard cover between Easter and September.  

Lifeguards work at Formby (Lifeboat Road) between May and September. 

 

Our top tips are:

  • Read the beach information notice boards for news and safety information
  • Take your litter home
  • Where lifeguards operate you are required to follow their instructions and advice
  • Respect the beaches, coastline and other people using the area
  • Do not allow your dog or horse to foul the beaches
  • Care should be taken at all times when swimming in the sea
  • Check the tide times and the weather forecast before your visit and be aware of the beach access points

During the summer the RNLI Lifeguard service is in operation at Formby, Ainsdale and Southport and they promote a 'swim between the flags' service, which means they will patrol a designated area of the beach.

At Crosby, RNLI Lifeguards are present all year, but please note Crosby beach is not a bathing beach and does not have a patrolled bathing area. 

On occasions it may be necessary to restrict activities and even close a beach and access to the water. Where this occurs we follow the procedures identified on the RNLI water safety advice website.

Tide times vary everyday throughout the year. Please check the tides website before you make your journey especially if you want to see the Antony Gormley statues. 

Southport Lifeboat have their own safety advice about tides, and how to avoid becoming cut off. Be aware of your surroundings and keeping checking behind you that the tide isn't coming in around you.

If anyone ever finds themselves cut-off by the tide, or notices someone in difficulty, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

 

Ainsdale has twice won the international Blue Flag and in 2010 Southport achieved excellent water quality under the current European standards. Formby has always had consistently good bathing water quality.

However, in 2015 the new standards will classify a bathing beach based on the previous four years testing and will have the additional requirement to provide improved information for the beach user. 

Warnings in the form of signage of short-term pollution events will be posted at the beach and are more likely to appear following heavy rain. If visiting a beach to swim or take part in another activity in the water and it has rained recently we advise that you check the notice boards at the beach.

More information on the revised bathing water standards is available on the Environment Agency and Defra websites.

In the North West, a Turning Tides partnership has been established to strive to further improve our bathing waters and between 1994 and 2015 £1 billion will have been spent in the North West.

Professional filming outlets seeking permission to fly drones and quadcopters must obtain approval from both Sefton's Coast and Countryside team as well as Natural England.

Recreational drone usage is unlikely to be approved as much of Sefton's coastline is classed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The flying of drones and/or quadcopters without prior consent or approval is strictly prohibited.

For a full list of rules and regulations regarding activities on SSSI click here.

 

 

 


Last Updated on Friday, April 9, 2021

Recite Me Button