Lifeboat Road (L37 2EB) and the adjacent Ravenmeols Dunes Local Nature Reserve form a gateway to The Mersey Forest. The area has a wide sandy beach, high dunes, furrowed grassland that was once asparagus fields, backed by pinewoods.
Features and history
Lifeboat Road is an ideal site for people of all ages. There is a large car park, picnic tables and a way-marked disabled access path to the Seaside Award winning bathing beach (beaches menu link) which is lifeguarded by the RNLI during the summer holidays. The high dunes afford excellent views of Liverpool, the Wirral, North Wales and Blackpool.
The site name "Lifeboat Road" is derived from its association with the first lifeboat station in Britain, this was built at Formby in 1776. The ruins of a later station, built on the original site in 1809, can still be seen on the beach today.
The pine trees at both Lifeboat Road and the adjacent Ravenmeols Dunes Local Nature Reserve were planted in the late nineteenth century to stabilise the dunes and shelter Formby from onshore winds. These woods are now home to one of the few thriving populations of Red Squirrels in Britain today and there is a trail in the pinewoods for you to use and try and see this endearing animal.
Both Lifeboat Road and the Ravenmeols Dunes LNR are important sites for the Natterjack Toads which inhabit the dunes; a nationally endangered species, protected by law. Natterjacks are distinguished from Common Toads by the yellow stripe down their back and yellow eyes.
For the bird watcher, the variety of birds at includes Stonechat, Linnet, Whitethroat, Yellowhammer and Sky Lark and many other small migrants in spring and autumn, while nearer the beach migrant wading birds such as Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Sanderling and Dunlin. Little Gull and seabirds are seen regularly in the right season with the chance of a shearwater or petrel if you are lucky. The different habitats on the dunes provide homes and food for insects, butterflies and moths including the Dark Green Fritillary and Six-spot Burnett moth.