Sands of Time Title
This site provides detailed information on the sand dunes of the Sefton coast in North West England
 
Home Page
  Quality of Coastal Towns
Project Partners
Tourism and the Mersey coast
Visitor Research Programme
Visitor Profiles
Visitor and Traffic Counts
Transport
Use by local people
Caravan Park Survey
   
Site Data
RSPB Marshside
Ainsdale and Birkdale Sandhills local nature reserve
Birkdale Sandhills, Sands Lake, Ainsdale Discovery Centre and Ainsdale and Birkdale Beaches
Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve
English Nature and Fisherman's Path
National Trust, Formby
Lifeboat Road
  Lifeboat Road carpark area and Wicks Lane/Kirklake Path
  Crosby Coastal Park
  Crosby Marine Park, Hall Road and Hightown Dunes
Quality of Coastal Towns Interreg IIc Project
Visitor Profile
 
The aim of this survey was to collect essential information on all visitors to the coast for use by site managers and to give a wider local and sub-regional picture.

To collect this information a short questionnaire was devised. Self-completion questionnaires with pre-paid envelopes where distributed in visitor centres and to visitors. However the preferred method was to carry out short interviews by staff or volunteers with visitors.

A total of 6301 questionnaires were returned from all Merseyside sites of which 3987 questionnaires were returned from Sefton sites.

The following is a summary of the findings of this survey. Full data can be viewed at the Sefton Coast Website
1. How often do people visit?

Frequency of visit
All Merseyside Sites (%)
All Sefton Sites (%)
Regularly
Daily
30
28.7
Weekly
49
51.3
Monthly
21
20
In the last 12 months
Once
16
16.5
Twice
10
9.9
6-10 times
12
11.1
80% of visitors had visited all Merseyside Sites before compared with 90% of visitors at Sefton coast sites generally.
2. Who do people visit with?
Number of people in a group
% of visitors at Sefton Sites
% of visitors overall at coastal sites in Merseyside
1
31
25
2
32
32
3
14
15
4
11
12
5+
11
15
The average size of groups visiting All Merseyside Sites is 2.23 persons. This groups size tends to be smaller than the average group of visitors for Sefton sites as a whole which is 2.79 persons.
3. Reasons for visiting

Reason for visiting
% of visitors at Sefton Sites
% of visitors overall at coastal sites in Merseyside
Walk
46.3
41.7
Relaxation
42.6
36.4
Scenery
37.7
29.8
Visit the beach
30.7
26
Walk the dog
28.8
25.2
4. Length of stay on this site.
57% of visitors said that they would be spending between 30 minutes and 2 hours at the coast.
 
5. Type of transport used to visit sites.
Type of transport
% of visitors at Sefton Sites
% of visitors overall at coastal sites in Merseyside
Car
69
73
Walked
18
16
Public Transport
5
5
Cycling
6
5
Other
2
1
6. Visitor likes and dislikes
Visitor liked: Visitors Disliked:
  • PeacefulnessLandscapeEnvironment / wildlife
  • Walking
  • Cleanliness and pollution
  • Dog and dog fouling
  • User conflicts
  • Site management and safety issues
7. Improvements visitors would like to see at all Sefton sites.
  • Toilet facilities
  • Food Provision
  • Recreation facilities
8. Visitor Information
Visitor category
Site
% of visitors
Families
Most popular Ainsdale Beach
66.4
National trust, Formby
52.4
Least popular Birkdale Hills
7.1
First time visitors
Most popular RSPB Marshside
19.4
National Trust, Formby
18.7
Least popular Birkdale Hills
1.4
Visitors with disabilities
Most popular Ainsdale Beach
20.1
Least popular Fishermans’ Path, Formby
2.20%
Dog walkers
Most popular Birkdale Hills, Birkdale
No data
Wicks Lane/ Kirklake Path
Walking
Most popular Wicks Lane/ Kirklake Path
No data
Ainsdale NNR main entrance
Visitors from outside the region
Most popular RSPB Marshside
70.2
Ainsdale Beach
62
Least popular Hightown Dunes
5.1
 
9. Visitor Profile
 
All Sefton Sites (% of visitors)
Age
<25
6.3
25-34
13.5
35 – 44
21.6
44- 54
21.3
55>
37.4
Gender
Male
57.2
Female
42.8
Disability
Yes
10.2
No
89.8
 
Visitor Membership of National Organisations

Membership levels to national organisations such as the National Trust and RSPB were 18% and 12.5% respectively. This is higher than the national membership average of 5% of the population for the National Trust and 1.5% for the RSPB.

Of visitors travelling from outside of the region these two national organisation sites where also the most popular. Of the visitors making their first visit to the Sefton coast the RSPB Marshside site and National Trust site at Formby where the most popular. Both the RSPB and the National Trust are national membership organisations and this was thought to influence the preference of these sites by first time visitors.

 
 
For more information about this project email dunes@hope.ac.uk at Liverpool Hope University.
  Go to the site of Liverpool Hope University    

Liverpool Hope University worked with English Nature and the
Sefton Coast Partnership to implement the Sands of Time project.