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Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve


Our coastline is one of the most interesting in the country, with networks of dunes just inland from the beach forming unique environments where scarce and rare plants and animals thrive.


Read Natural England’s account of just how unusual this area is; visit and enjoy it, but above all, respect it!



The dunes are home to over 450 plant species including 33 that are locally or regionally rare like petalwort, seaside centaury, yellow bartsia, round-leaved wintergreen, dune helleborine and pendulous flowered helleborine.


Where: Merseyside, Sefton Coast


Main habitat: Coastal sand dunes


Why visit: the reserve is one of the most important wildlife sites in England, and a place where visitors can get close to nature. The landscape is perfect for a leisurely stroll through the magnificent scenery of dunes, pinewoods and golden sands, while children can enjoy the wide open spaces of the huge sandy beaches.


Star species: this is one of the best remaining strongholds of the rare natterjack toad, Europe’s loudest amphibian. Red squirrels can occasionally be seen in amongst the reserve’s pine forests too, while sand lizards, great-crested newts and a fantastic variety of orchids and other wildflowers can also be found here.


Access: The reserve has a network of around eight miles of footpaths marked with coloured topped posts. The Woodland Path and Fisherman’s Path are accessible by bike, pushchairs and wheelchairs, and there is an accessible picnic area to take a well earned rest along Woodland Path.

To see a map of the Dunes area, please click HERE and Natural England’s map will open before you!

Natural England


The Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve is managed by Natural England. For more information about who they are and what they do, click HERE