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The Sparrowhawk and Ainsdale Nature Reserve is a 5.4 mile loop trail located near Southport, Merseyside, England that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options.

Length 5.4 mi Elevation gain 331 ft Route type Loop


Nature trips


Bird watching


Partially paved



Waypoints (5)
Getting There

A circular pub walk from the Sparrowhawk in Formby, Merseyside. The Sparrowhawk is a lovely old country house, beautifully converted to a classic pub with open fires to enjoy in the winter and a large terrace for the summer months. The walking route heads out via the Coastal Road to explore two local nature reserves. There's a real mix of landscapes throughout the walk including pine forest, acidic dune heath, a golf course, an airfield, residential streets and long bridleways. If you're lucky you might even get a glimpse of one of the rare red squirrels that populate the reserves. The walk is relatively flat throughout. Most of the paths are wide, well-made tarmac pavements or stone tracks, but one length of bridleway is narrow and can be quite muddy in winter and after periods of rain. There are no stiles on route, just a few gates/kissing gates. You will need to cross the rail line at an un-signalled level crossing so take care to look and listen for trains before you cross. You will also need to take care of traffic at two points: the first is to cross a dual carriageway; the other is the final mile of the walk that follows the edge of a quiet lane. The route crosses a golf course so keep alert and beware of any stray golf balls. Dogs are welcome in the nature reserves, as long as they are kept under control. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.

Formby is located on the west coast, between Liverpool and Southport. The walk starts and finishes from the Sparrowhawk pub on Southport Old Road, which has its own car park. Approximate post code L37 0AB.

UV Index
Reviews (3)
Photos (32)
Recordings (2)
Completed (15)
Chris Moss
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Jane Strange
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HikingOver grown
First to Review

Nice little family walk. The first and last section involve walking on a road which in parts does Not have a pavement. Nice views along the way.

David Lawrie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 8, 2020
View David's Recording