Natural England - Ainsdale: how to get there

Ainsdale: how to get there

Ainsdale sand Dunes NNR is on Merseyside.

We encourage the use of sustainable transport whenever possible.

By cycle

The reserve is on Route 62external link (TransPennine Trail) and local route 81 of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.

By train

The reserve is a short walk away from train stations at both Ainsdaleexternal link (1.2km) and Freshfieldexternal link (1.4km)

By bus

Local bus services stop at Freshfield station, Pinfold Lane and Gleneagles Drive.

For local transport information contact Merseytravel on 0871 200 22 33, or visit link.

By car

Access to the reserve by car is via minor roads from the A565.

There is no public parking on the reserve, although a limited number of disabled parking places are available (please call the reserve office on 01704 578774 for more information).

Public parking can be found at Ainsdale-on-Sea beach car park, with access to the NNR via the beach or neighbouring Ainsdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve. To the south of the reserve parking is also available at the National Trust property in Formby, from where the NNR can be accessed via the Sefton Coast Footpath.

On foot

There are footpath entrances to the reserve from Pinfold Lane and the Coastal Road, Ainsdale; Fisherman’s Path, Freshfield; and from north and south along the beach and frontal dune paths.

The NNR can also be visited via the Trans Pennine Trailexternal link and the Sefton Coastal Footpathexternal link which provide access to the entire length of Sefton’s Natural Coast.


Ainsdale Sand Dunes is a fabulous place to while away a few hours with a healthy stroll through the woods, a bracing play on the beach, or a journey of discovery in the dunes.

The reserve has a network of around eight miles of footpaths marked with coloured topped posts, with the Woodland Path and Fisherman’s Path suitable for bikes, pushchairs and wheelchairs.

The reserve is also featured on The Nationwide Access Registerexternal link with a full description of all of the waymarked trails.

Visitors can also explore areas away from the waymarked routes by asking for a free permit from the reserve office. In order to protect the rare and sensitive wildlife found on the reserve, we ask that dogs are kept under close control at all times, and are not allowed in the permit restricted areas.


We aim to provide visitors to the NNR with all they need to enjoy their day, whilst retaining the unspoilt nature of the reserve.

The waymarked paths help visitors safely explore the range of habitats found here. Site news and further information is provided at the site entrance notice boards.

Cycle parking is available where the main cycle routes meet the sandier dune footpaths. A small picnic area with accessible benches is also provided along Woodland Path.

We are continually looking at ways to improve our visitors’ experience, and hope to be able to install further access improvements and visitor facilities over the coming years. Any comments or suggestions for improvements are welcome.

The nearest toilets can be found at the National Trust car park or in local towns, along with refreshments.

Other local amenities and attractions

To find more about other reserves along the Sefton Coast visit The Sands of Time external link

There is a wide range of accommodation in the Sefton Coast area. For more details visit Southport Tourismexternal link.