Home Newsletter Locations Diary
Topic Alpha County Sections By

Travellers Resource

Formby Pinewoods and
Red Squirrel Reserve

Fromby, Lancashire

Featured Location Guide

The pine woods here are home to one of the best known homes for Red Squirrels in England.

It is owned and managed by the National Trust and they work day and night to protect the 200 Red Squirrels that live in the area.

It's on a wonderful stretch of unspoilt coastline set between the sea and Formby town, offering miles of walks through the woods and dunes. There are interesting plants and birds to be found, as well of course as the cute Red Squirrel.

So what does it have:

  • Stunning stretch of unspoilt coastline
  • Long sandy beaches and attractive pine woods
  • Playful red squirrels, often brave enough to scamper up close and take your offerings
  • Search for 5,000-year-old red deer footprints on the beach.

  Vintage Lulu See Larger Image

It is a magical place to visit. Although the squirrels here are wild and can move about amongst the woodland and surrounding area. Like any animal they know where their bread is buttered and because of the tourists and regular visitors here they are attracted to stay and they just love to be looked at and photographed. You will see them in the trees, on the ground, amongst the vegetation and even running across the path in front of you. They scurry about and move quite quickly, but when they settle they are a joy to photograph, usually doing some task or other like feeding, burying their food, washing themselves or even chasing each other. You can catch them going up or down trees and they will look at you. You can put down peanuts in an area you would like them to pose for your shots and at least some will oblige.

Some images for the Red Squirrels at Formby

See Larger Image See Larger Image
See Larger Image See Larger Image

The National Trust run a car park alongside the Squirrel Reserve for access to the beach beyond, and this carries a charge, however entering the pinewoods where the squirrels are is free entry, and therefore if you park in another location and walk to the reserve there is nothing to pay. On entering the pinewoods from the car park you follow a marked pathway, by marked I mean they have a waist high fence running either side of the path which visitors follow and this allows the ground around the trees to remain protected from heavy footfall. The squirrels tend to stay behind these fences most of the time, but they will climb and go over the fence if they want to get to another area. There are other parts in the woodland where you can get closer to the trees and walk amongst the vegetation.

You will find that if you leave nuts or something for them to eat, they will retrieve it and come close enough for you to get some great photographs. They are used to tourists. How many you see will depend on the weather conditions, time of day when you visit and how active they are. I have visited three times over the past couple of years and have seen different numbers on each visit, but each time have seen something.

There are other places around with the same sort of woodland and vegetation where you may also see them, like this picture which was taken at nearby Freshfield, and the Ainsdale Nature Reserve.

I have also been told that the nearby graveyard in Formby church also has visiting Red Squirrels who are enticed and encouraged by the graveyard visitors having food to hand.

See Larger Image

Taken at nearby Freshfields

by Keith Barlow

Further information Grid


Formby Pinewoods and Red Squirrel Reserve,  Formby, Merseyside
Ceremonial County: Lancashire

Grid Reference:

SD275080   OS Map ref 108

Map Link:

View Multimap

Aerial photo:

Multimap Aerial

Google Aerial



Best Times to Visit:

Autumn for the squirrels who are in full red colour.




National Trust

Other useful websites:

Natures Calendar ; Formby Access

Nearby Locations:

Formby Coastal Walk ; Ainsdale Nature Reserve ; Birkdale Sandhills Nature Reserve

Other Relevant pages:  


Planning Grid


Formby Pinewoods and Red Squirrel Reserve,  Formby, Merseyside

Grid Reference:


Getting there:

From Liverpool, follow signs to Southport until you join the A565. Follow the brown signs from the roundabout at the North end of Formby by-pass.


Ample parking facilities and access to the squirrel viewing areas for prams and wheelchairs. Braille guide. Baby changing facilities.


Car park which also copes with beach access. Gate closes to park at 5.30pm (Mar-Oct) and 4pm (Nov-Dec)


Toilets open 9am-5.30pm. Refreshments provided by ice cream vans dotted around site. Picnic tables

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Children's quiz trail. Signposted squirrel walk.


What to take:

Camera (great close-up photo opportunities), comfortable shoes and windproof jacket.

Nature highlights:

Red Squirrels. Woodland walks. Bird watching. Toad watching.


Formby Pinewoods and Red Squirrel Reserve

Victoria Road




L37 1LJ


01704 878591

Opening times:

Open daily during daylight hours. Closed 25th December.


Free entry to reserve. However NT run a car park which covers reserve and beach which costs 3.70 per car, free to NT members.

Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access: Grounds partly accessible, undulating terrain. Beach access difficult. Squirrel reserve is sand covered.
Special Needs Facilities: Disabled toilets at top of car park
Children Facilities: Baby changing facilities. Children's quiz/trail.
Dogs Allowed: Must be kept on leads around the squirrel walk.

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section: Squirrels Key:
Page Ref: formby Topic: Wildlife & Animals  Last Updated: 08/2009


This page:

Link directly to this page, with text or the button on right.

Text linking: Formby Point  on Photographers Resource

Linking Instructions                            http://www.photographers-resource.co.uk/

Photographers Resource, all the information for the photographer