Bee Orchid Square 1

Field Meeting To the Ainsdale Dunes

Event info

 Dr. Phil Smith, MBE, has kindly agreed to join us again on this field meeting; Phil is a noted expert on the Sefton Coast and author of The Sands of Timeand ‘The Sands of Time Revisited

 The sand-dunes of the Sefton Coast provide the largest sand-dune complex in England covering an area of approximately 2100 ha. It is a fascinating and ever-changing habitat with many photographic opportunities throughout the seasons; however, early summer is usually a period when the dunes are richly rewarding for both botanic and entomological subjects.

This year we have timed the meeting for early summer orchids and insects. These are always dependent upon seasonal weather; (last year was exceptionally dry but, so far, we have had a wet autumn/winter with plentiful rain). Unless we have a very dry period from now on we should find Bee Orchids and varieties of Marsh Orchids with hybrids. There are many other botanic specialties to be found in the dunes and on the Green Beachat this time of the year.

If the day is warm we should find the Northern Dune Tiger-beetle - a superbly photogenic insect; and there should be a plentiful supply of early butterflies and dragonflies.

The frontal dunes and the Green Beachare also well known for sightings of migratory birds and there may be some latecomers passing through.

The area is also noted for having two increasingly rare species: The Sand Lizard and The Natterjack Toad. These are not easy to locate, especially the Sand Lizard, but we will do some prior research into suitable locations.

In addition to the flora and fauna the Sefton Coast is itself very photogenic with sand, sea and dune landscape opportunities. The dunes are always changing, physically and with both subtle and dramatic lighting, and there are locations where ʻsand blowʼ has scoured large Devil Holesfurther down the coast.

 A small charge, less than £5, may be incurred for parking at the Centre.

 There is plentiful accommodation in the nearby seaside resort of Southport. 

 This is a popular field trip with a maximum number of fifteen so early booking is important. (Awaiting Online booking Buttons)

 Items to bring: There are very few natural hazards but the area is exposed so light warm clothing and waterproofs are ideal in case of rain. Stout shoes, boots or wellingtons are required. Bring a packed lunch and something to drink since these are not available at the site.

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Venue Information

?Toilets - may be open


The Ainsdale Discovery Centre

The Promenade, Ainsdale-on-Sea

Shore Road


Nr Southport