It seems like a long time ago now but it is only a matter of a couple of weeks since I accompanied the Manchester Museum Young Archaeologists to Formby in Lancashire. We try to take the children out on a trip once a year and Formby was great because it wasn’t too far from Manchester, there was some fascinating archaeology to see and there was plenty of space for the children to run around. It was the first time I’d been to Formby but it is hard not to fall in love with the place. From the moment you draw up at the National Trust car park where you can see red squirrels running around the pine trees to the moment when you crest the rise of the sand dunes and you see the foreshore for the first time before you it’s a delight.
We went to Formby to see the famous footprints in the ancient land surface preserved underneath the sand. They are only revealed at low tide so obviously we had to time our visit very carefully. Fortunately time and tide on this occasion were very favourable to us and we enjoyed several very agreeable hours on the foreshore looking for footprints. Nor did our efforts go unrewarded because we found a track of foot shape impressions in the ancient land surface that could not possibly have been recent.
Many similar tracks have been recorded over the years and there is a dedicated website where you can see them. They date from the prehistoric period and some of them may go back to the Mesolithic period about 8000 years ago. A range of different animals have been identified, not to mention the footprints of men, women and children who went out on the foreshore to hunt wildfowl and to gather crustacea and other sea foods.
On this occasion the Young Archaeologists discovered what we think was the imprint of a deer and what looked like a wolf’s pawprint. Afterwards we had a picnic in the pine forest and then called at Liverpool Museum to see the story of Liverpool displays which feature material from Formby.
This was an excellent day out and all thanks to Clare Pye for organising all aspects of the day including the warm sunny weather.