Crosby & Formby: Sun, Sea and Sandy Dunes / by Andrew Wilson

It's a great thing to still be surprised by someplace new so close to home, especially when you've lived in the same area for a decade. Perhaps it's because when you've walked down the same street so many times you may never think to take a different turn, look in a new direction or (in the case of this blog) jump on a train and go to a nearby beach.

My blog, ‘Blackpool: Sun, Sea and Seagulls’, was about a trip from the summer of last year with a few friends. This blog is about a follow-up trip we took a few weeks later in September to the beaches of Crosby and Formby in the north of Merseyside.


The last (and only) time I visited Crosby beach was several years ago to see Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ sculptures. On this particular day we weren't there to look at his work and continued further north along the beach. Here you can find all sorts of washed up debris like tyres, bottles and masses of red bricks. 

From a distance you might think that the gathering of red stone was a natural local formation - the bricks, worn down and rounded through erosion, look like they belong.


At Crosby I shot a roll of film on my Holga camera, resulting in these square photographs...

...I photographed a number of tyres...

...and a white ring buoy...

...and after I took a number of photos I had something like this in mind - to combine them into a single, tiled image.

The washed up debris engulfed by the land that meets the sand.

After some exploring and treating ourselves to a well-deserved ice cream, we hopped back on the Merseyrail and carried on up to Formby. As I'd never visited Formby and its beach before I was expecting something similar to the beach of Crosby. How wrong I was going to be!


On nearing the beach of Formby I was pleasantly surprised to walk through National Trust land before...

...being surprised again when we reached the mighty sand-dunes! 

Left-to-right; Jack, Keiron & Hannah...

...looking back across the National Trust land we walked through. Standing at the top of the dunes gave us a great view all around.

The view across the rolling dunes...

...flowing down to the beach.

From the dunes I decided to wander down to the beach...

...observing details on my way back up through the dunes.


I made my way back to a collection of trees I had spotted earlier. On reaching them I could see they were shaped in a way that looked like they were being blown sideways; bending, twisting and contorting in union... particular tree, slightly separated from the rest, stood out to me; it leaned over crookedly and had a bare and smooth bark. It added to a surreal feeling that, combined with the other trees, dunes and sunshine, I felt a bit like I was in a desert.

Shortly after exploring these trees we made our way back to the station with shoes full of sand, and returned to the city.

. . .

I enjoyed this trip so much that I've been back to Formby earlier this year (I may do a blog about that soon) and have it in the back of my mind as somewhere to go back to for some kind of project to improve my landscape photography.

The washed up debris at Crosby could also make for a rich small-scale project. Despite the debris being a sad site on an otherwise pleasant beach, it undeniably makes for interesting subject matter - how has this rubbish ended up here and for how long? Who threw it away and why?

For now thanks for reading this blog. Please leave any comments in the box below (always appreciated!) and be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for future blogs.