Sefton residents are currently being offered the chance to enjoy a series of coastal ‘Healthy Heritage Walks.’
The events are organised through the Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership Scheme which is externally funded mainly by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with support from other sources and members of the Sefton Coast Partnership.
Here keen local rambler, Corinne Wright, describes her experiences during a recent walk which followed the Sefton Coast Path between Hillside Station and Freshfield.
“During an unusually warm Sefton coast day, I attended one of the guided walks currently being offered to Sefton residents.
“I met the walk leader, LPS project officer Fiona Sunners, and my fellow walkers at Hillside Station.
“Part one of the walk took us through the Birkdale and Ainsdale Sandhills, following a maze of paths between the Royal Birkdale clubhouse and the Pontins roundabout. In this stretch, we were shown many unusual species of plants and insects by local ranger, John Gramaskus. We were all particularly fascinated by the presence of some asparagus plants and of the asparagus beetle feeding on them.
“We then took the dune path bordering the Coastal Road, towards the Formby Bypass. The dunes here were alive with colour, with notable blooms including the purple rosebay willowherb and the striking yellow of the evening primrose and ragwort. We were told how ragwort, a common feature of the sand dunes during the summer months, is vitally important for many species including the cinnabar moth caterpillar.
“After crossing beneath the Coastal Road on the newly completed Ainsdale link path, we then met our second guide for the day, Mike Downey from Natural England.
“Mike took us along the Woodland Path bordering Woodvale airfield, through the Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve, informing us all the while about how this impressive pine forest is managed and preserved. I have not explored this area of the coast previously, but will be making a repeat visit to investigate its beautiful forest trails and wildlife hidden gems.
“The final stretch of our health walk took us on the public path across the greens of Formby Golf Club and along the side of the beautiful Freshfield Dune Heath Nature Reserve. While we admired the deep purple of the blooming heather, Fiona told us about the conservation work linked to this reserve and its newly introduced Sand Lizard population.
“The whole walk took about three hours and was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. These walks are a fantastic opportunity for local people to keep fit, experience the landscape on their doorsteps and learn about our coast’s nature and heritage. They are linked with public transport at either end, making them accessible to people travelling across the borough. I’d really recommend them to anybody who is interested in the coast and already has a little walking experience.”
The free Heritage Health Walks are on offer to local people throughout the autumn and into next year, taking place on various weekdays and on Saturdays. People can find our more on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeftonCoast or by calling Fiona Sunners on 0151 934 2964.
The next walks are Hillside to Crossens on Tuesday, September 11; and Freshfield to Formby on Saturday, September 15 and Thursday, September 20.
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