Ainsdale and Birkdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve(LNR) provides access to beautiful scenery, outstanding wildlife and one of Britain’s nicest beaches. The reserve along with the neighbouring Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve forms part of one of the most extensive dune systems in Great Britain. Access is along marked and informal footpaths that offer a variety of walks of different lengths throughout the Local Nature Reserve and links to Ainsdale National Nature Reserve.
The reserve was established in 1980 and covers 670 acres (268ha) of dunes. It is a typical sand dune system with high ridges and dune valleys containing slacks. Slacks are low hollows formed in wind-blow, often flooded during the winter, containing unusual plants and animals. Some provide breeding pools for Natterjack Toads. In summer, damp slacks are carpeted with flowers including Early-marsh Orchid, Marsh Helleborine and Grass of Parnassus. Round-leaved Winter-green and nationally rare Dune Helleborine are found in dry slacks.
Access is by train and bus. Parking is available at Ainsdale Beach, Weld Road and the Ainsdale Discovery Centre and there are numerous access points to the site.