Perfectly located within a commutable distance between Liverpool and Southport but further away enough to avoid the masses, the small and beautiful town of Formby is a sought-after place for many to live in.
Hidden away behind fields and forests, Formby feels very much detached from the outside world, in a way that is very much welcomed by its residents. Many of whom, have relocated from the busier towns and cities to enjoy a taste of tranquillity and a much quieter, outdoors lifestyle.
The central village is a popular place for the community to meet and enjoy the stylish bars and restaurants mixed in-between the many grocery and convenience stores. There is a strong sense of community in Formby and each year the Formby Festival is held within the village and attracts many residents. Most recently, the super popular Bongo's Bingo also joined in the fun to provide guests with the eclectic mix of bingo and raves.
As quiet as Formby is, with many people fondly remembering Formby as a holiday destination as a child, the small town attracts hoards of day tourists during the summer months, who flock to the beach and the woods to take their children on the same great days out that they too enjoyed as a child.
The Formby Squirrel Reserve is home to the Red Squirrels. The species are endangered due to the introduction of Grey Squirrels into their habitats during the 1800s, the greys’ carry a disease which can kill the red squirrels, despite the fact it does not affect their own health.
RAF Woodvale was built in 1941 after the devastating Liverpool Blitz during the first year of the Second World War. Although by the time it was built, the threat of bombing was considered low. It was mainly used for soldiers to rest and recuperate in-between tours.
During the summer of 2016, over fifty footprints were discovered on Formby Beach, which were subsequently discovered to be 7,000 years ago. Along with human footprints, the expert team from Manchester University discovered around 2,000 pre-historic Red Deer footprints.
Like many local areas, Formby’s suffix of ‘by’ indicates a strong Viking connection. It is thought that the Vikings took advantage of the North West’s costal location and invaded via the waters.
Formby is an important location for cultivating Asparagus. During the late 1800s, the asparagus was shipped to London’s Covent Garden markets on a daily basis. It is rumoured to have been taken aboard the Titanic to serve first class passengers.
Lifestyle & Activities
Formby is extremely popular with families and many people who relocate here do so because of what the town can offer in terms of lifestyle options. Its affluence, tranquillity and natural beauty combined with great commuter options, makes this the perfect location for those who want to get the best out of each area of their life.
Regardless of season, its location means that Formby’s residents have some world class destinations just minutes from their doorstep, allowing them to enjoy a great outdoors lifestyle that so often seems only an idealistic dream. With its stunning scenery that is so characteristically British carries itself throughout both the winter and summer months, the town offers a wonderful backdrop for a range of seasonal activities.
Taking full advantage of this beautiful landscape and quiet roads, one of the most popular things to do for local residents is enjoy a simple bike ride in the wooded areas. With a long road leading down to the beach and whimsically framed by tall trees, there is no better place to enjoy a bike ride than along Victoria Road. Running through the Squirrel Reserve, cyclists can hop off and take a walk around the nature reserve in search for the elusive Red Squirrels.
Residents can also enjoy an extended walk through the pine woods and can enjoy lengthy walking trails to keep them fit. The Asparagus Trail, which begins at Victoria Road, stretches from the Squirrel Wood, past the Asparagus Fields, Sheep Fields and back to the beautiful Victoria Wood. This trail stretches across 2.8 miles and takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to walk, however, with sculptures and informative panels dotted along the way, it is a fun way to learn about the history of asparagus cultivation whilst keeping fit!
At the end of Victoria Road is Formby Beach, although popular with tourists during the summer months, local residents enjoy the vast expanse of the beach throughout the year. The beach, which is considered to be one of the country’s best, is popular with runners, dog walkers and families, enjoying the fresh sea air that is refreshingly intoxicating.
Families with young children are spoilt for choice when it comes to primary schools within the area, boasting five schools all within a short distance of each other. As a small town with a strong community feel, educating children in church schools is a popular choice for many local parents and luckily for them, Formby is home to three great church schools.
St. Luke’s Church of England Primary is one of the oldest schools in the area, having opened in 1911 on a small house on Raven Meols Lane. Although it has now moved to a larger premise and can accommodate a higher number of children, the school still operates with the mindset of a smaller school, where children are looked at as individuals and are taught in a tight-knit Christian environment.
The school follows the National Curriculum as a basis for the education of children, however, the school has implemented great activities such as Forest School and a great range of extra-curricular activities, enriching the teachings at the school.
As a church school, St. Luke’s is subject to inspection by the National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools Report (SIAMS) in its most recent inspection, the school was rated as ‘Outstanding’ in both ‘Meeting the Needs of All Learners’ and the ‘Impact of Collective Worship in the School Community’. During its 2018 Ofsted inspection, the school continued with the rating of ‘good’ making it an attractive choice for parents in the area.
For those who follow the Catholic faith, Formby is home to two great catholic schools. St. Jerome’s Catholic Primary School is based in a beautiful location, near the costal pinewoods and next to the Catholic Church of St. Jerome.
Its location means that the children are able to get out and about to enjoy the great outdoors at Beach School, where children enjoy classes and fun games on the beach, building their skills in a fun and engaging way. Similarly, to St. Luke’s forest school, it is this outdoor learning environment in which the children learn to climb trees and build shelters, developing skills that simply can’t be taught in a classroom.
As a public school, St. Jerome’s follows the National Curriculum. In its most recent Ofsted report, the school received the rating of ‘Good’, a step down from its previous inspection which rating the school as ‘Outstanding’. The report noted that the school was well above the national average in pupil performance in English and Mathematics as well as attendance.
The final church school in the area is Our Lady of Compassion Roman Catholic Primary School, on the outskirts of Formby. As a church school, OLC, as it is locally known, incorporates the church calendar as part of the curriculum, with children celebrating religious holidays throughout the year. In its most recent Ofsted report, the school achieved a rating of ‘good’.
For parents who are not specially looking for a church school education, Formby has two great primaries including Redgate Community Primary School and Woodlands County Primary School, which both achieved the Ofsted rating of ‘Good’ in their most recent inspections.
As children progress through their education, parents are often looking for fantastic secondary schools in which their children can excel as they head towards the finale of their educative years. Despite the many primary schools in the area, there are only two high schools within Formby and so, both are highly sought-after by parents in the area.
With a rating of ‘Outstanding’ in all five areas of its most recent Ofsted report, there is little wonder why Range High School is one of the top twenty best-performing schools in Merseyside, across both primary and secondary educational institutions.
The school is a part of the North Sefton Coastal Teaching School Alliance, which was created by government initiative to raise standards of education. The alliance works by training and developing the skills and confidence of teaching staff and Range High is one of the leading schools within this alliance.
A house system has been implemented into the school, which sees form groups across each year of the school to be united under the same house. Along with help and development from the children in the higher years, this also means that children will have at least two members of staff will be working closely with them, helping to identify their personal areas of development throughout their time at the school.
With a mission statement of ‘we are determined to achieve the highest standards in everything that we do’, it may come as no surprise to know that Formby High School achieved a rating of ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in its most recent inspection.
As a school that specialises in both performing arts and sciences, pupils can expect to experience brilliant facilities including a recording studio, Yamaha keyboard room and even drama workshop. Formby High School is considered to have a national reputation for excellence in both performing arts and science.
In terms of academic performance, Formby High School performs well above both the regional and national average. 83% of students achieve a grade 4 or above in English and Mathematics, in stark contrast to 63.3% in England state schools. It is with these high performing results and fantastic facilities that make the school a popular choice for parents in the area.