From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Formby Point

Nature Reserve
53° 33' 3.0" N 3° 5' 48.6" W

  • History
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
Formby is a town in Merseyside, England. Erosion of sand on the beach at Formby is revealing layers of mud and sediment, laid down and covered in the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age, approximately 4000-3500 years ago. These sediments often contain the footprints of humans, animals (most commonly Aurochs) from that period. The large area of beach, sand dunes and the pine woods which is part of the National Trust owned nature reserve, with one of Britain's last thriving colonies of Red Squirrels. Formby point and the reserve's, Red squirrels can frequently be seen in the pine trees and the shoreline attracts waders such as Oystercatchers and Sanderlings. As well as the beautiful beach there are miles of walks across the sand dunes and through the woods.

Formby beach is the location of an early lifeboat station. 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. Remarkably a film survives of this event. A footnote to ‘A Chart of the Harbour of Liverpool’ by P. P. Burdett, 1771, corrected 1776, provides the first documentary evidence of a ‘boat and station for saving lives’ in existence at Formby Point by 1776:

‘NB.: On the strand about a mile below Formby Lower Land Mark there is a boathouse, and a boat kept ready to save lives from vessels forced on shore on that coast, and a guinea, or more, reward is paid by the Corporation for every human life that is saved by means of this boat, etc.’