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Formby Dunes Back from the Brink

The Back from the Brink Project has published their latest story of restoring biodiversity in our local Dunes.

And they write:

What is the habitat of Gems in the Dunes?

Sand dunes are wonderful places, but they are very fragile. The dunes of the Sefton Coast, stretching from Southport to Seaforth, form the largest undeveloped dune system in England. They are home to some real gems, including one of our rarest reptiles, the colourful Sand Lizard, and the scarce Natterjack, a charming little toad. There are also many other special plants and invertebrates, all depending on the dunes.

Why is this habitat at risk?

Sand dune systems are extremely vulnerable to a number of pressures. These include urban development, overgrowth of vegetation and frequent human disturbance. Unfortunately, many of the species that live in the dunes need very specific conditions to exist. All of this means that a significant number of species face extinction here if the dunes are lost to them.

How we’ll save Sefton's threatened wildlife

This Back from the Brink project, led by the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, is determined to ensure a safe future for these creatures and plants. We will work with key partners and landowners along the Sefton Coast, to carry out various habitat management tasks. These should directly improve the quality of the habitat for Natterjacks, Sand Lizards, the impressive Northern Dune Tiger Beetle and many others.

Vital to all of this is helping the public to recognise the importance and vulnerability of the dunes. We will offer a range of activities to get them interested and involved, including monitoring, habitat management, walks, talks and a whole host more!

What we’re aiming for

By the end of the Project, we aim to ensure that people will have become as involved and passionate about the sand dunes of Sefton and the gems that live there, as we are. In this way, we hope to secure their future for future generations.

How to get involved

Can you help us by getting involved with surveys, or with management for the gems in the dunes? Find out more at our talks, walks and events.

You can get the latest news, and find out about upcoming events, by following the links below.

Project Officer
01704 571575


Can Formby Survive the Crisis?

Can Formby adapt to the Climate Crisis and the long-term change effects of COVID 19? image from

I've had a very long term interest in the concept of sustainability and local circular economies. The present climate crisis and the clear impact of the COVID 19 pandemic adds urgency to the questions raised and the need for action and not just 'hand-wringing' acceptance.

This webinar has some really interesting examples of initiatives in a London Borough and I invite you to consider how these might be introduced in Formby.

In this webinar, GlobalNet21 are interviewing Alice Roberts from the Campaign To Protect Rural England and the Better Streets Scorecard.

She discusses how the work she does is as relevant to urban as well as rural areas and also about her work to create better streets in London and the give a score to their achievements.


Please comment in the section below.


From my notepad

This Open Society Policy is worthy of our support. 

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) advocates the need to provide ‘high-quality open space’ (para 91) and to ‘plan positively for the provision and use of shared spaces’ (para 92). 

However, too often these requirements are ignored.  We want to see these rules being followed. 

It also makes provision for the dedication of land as Local Green Space (paras 99-101).

Source: Open Spaces for the Future

When I was a member of our two local Parish Councils I became a member because I supported, and still do today, their efforts to project our 'Open Spaces for the Future'.

Find out more about them on their website.

The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 as the Commons Preservation Society.* It is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. Its founders and early members included John Stuart Mill, Lord Eversley, Sir Robert Hunter and Octavia Hill. The last two founded the National Trust in 1895 along with Canon Rawnsley.





I've recently started to re-read Richard Mabey's book, 'Beechcombing, The narratives of trees'. This extract from early in the book caught my eye and started me thinking about the continuing saga over the diseased Horse Chestnut trees in the village.

This is Richard Mabey writing about our response to the hurricane that wrote off so many of our trees.

He writes;

The physical loss of the trees, was matched by the injury to our complacency. The denting of our sense of the proper order of things. This wasn't what was supposed to happen. Trees were monuments to security emblems of continuity and peace in an unstable world, the terrible looting of our native Woods during the 1960s and 1970s had passed, and they've been superseded by a new mood of respect and affection.

We hugged trees. We planted trees. We were their friends for goodness sake.

It was as well that we didn't understand then that the storm may not have been an entirely natural event, but an early augury of climate change, and therefore, our fault; muddled feelings of grief and betrayal and confusion were quite enough to cope with at the time. The storm had upturned all kinds of deep-rooted assumptions about the ways that trees did - and should - behave. It left ramshackle rot riddled veterans intact and levelled in their millions the youthful. The fastidiously planted, the lovingly tended, and the totally healthy, many of which further subverted the conventional notion of what a tree was by coming back to life in a horizontal position.

So yesterday I wandered into Chapel Lane to see how our trees were doing, after all, they've been the subject of major conflict between residents in Formby and Sefton Council including 'Tree experts'. We know the outcome of that argument, some of the trees have gone but some remain, nurtured lovingly by our Parish Council.

This is one of them.

I don't know about you but in my view two more of these once magnificent trees are coming to the end of their lives, early deaths to be sure but as Richard Mabey writes above hastened by our continuing disregard for the natural world. These trees should be recognised as our 'Canary in a cage'.

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