The last few times we've been out as a group we've gone to Delamere Forest but this time we fancied a change (and also because my dog disgraced himself chasing rabbits onto a railway line the last time we were there - luckily there were no trains!) so we headed for the beach instead.
Formby Point has a large car park which was an easy place for us to meet. I expected the place to be deserted and was surprised to see the car park almost full. However, once we set off and reached the beach there was more than enough space for everyone - including our group of about nineteen dogs! This beach is very different to the one in Seaford where I was before Christmas. The area is owned by the National Trust and stretches for miles along the Sefton Coast. It's a sandy beach - totally different from the pebbles at Seaford - although it was definitely a welly walk today and not for bare feet! It always feels a little strange to be walking on a beach in wellies (although I spent my childhood summer holidays in Wales and have fond memories of paddling in the sea in my wellies because the weather was too wet and cold for swimsuits!) but I was glad that I had them on as other owners in walking boots soon had wet feet.
The dogs had a wonderful time. They immediately made a beeline for this small pool ...
barking and playing as they raced across the sand ...
which turned to wet ripples as it got closer to the water's edge.
The day was bright, clear and calm. I'd put on plenty of layers but it was actually quite warm - nobody would ever have believed that we'd been building a snowman at home only two days earlier! The waves lapped gently and the dogs splashed in them, soaking anybody foolish enough to get too close.
We walked a long way across the sand, heading for the dunes and the circular route back towards the car park.
I've never taken the dog to Formby beach before but it's a great place for walkies. There are no seasonal restrictions on dog-walking and the sand is a wide, flat, safe place for them to run. Good for children, too!
We came off the beach and took a small path which led us through pine woods. The sand underfoot gave way to a carpet of pine needles and it felt as if we were a long way from the beach we had just left!
And then suddenly we were out in the dunes and the sand was under our feet again. We'd gone from the forest to the desert!
Over to our right we could see the sea again, but we stayed on the dunes path which took us back round to the car park. I wished we'd had a bit longer to stand and look out at the sea, but when you're in a big group you tend to keep moving and besides, my dog always likes to be at the front of any group so I needed to keep up with him!
I'll definitely be taking the dog back to Formby for walkies. There's a red squirrel walk from the same car park that I know the girls would enjoy - it's the only place around here where red squirrels live in the wild (did you know that a group of squirrels is called a scurry? Isn't that just a perfect description for them?) and although there was a serious outbreak of squirrel pox here in 2008, the population at Formby is recovering well.
It'll be the perfect place for a dog-friendly day out - and of course, I just want to see the dog dancing in the waves again!