Formby Asparagus Trail, Lancashire

On the edge of the Lancashire coast, not far from the historic seafaring port of Liverpool, lies the National Trust’s newly developed Asparagus Walking Trail. Stretch your legs, fill your lungs with salty sea air and discover more about the once highly-coveted Formby asparagus.

Formby Asparagus growing in sandy soil
Walking this gentle trail is a charming way to discover the unique history of asparagus growing in Formby. With only one remaining producer in the area, it’s here that you can literally see it growing in the sand. A British seasonal favourite, we grow over 5 million kilos a year and not one box of it goes abroad. We Brits gobble up every last spear. Make sure you get your hands on some! The Foodie Travel Guide

  • A gentle walking trail
  • Take a picnic
  • Discover Formby’s asparagus story
  • Watch it being harvested

Formby Asparagus

Asparagus has been cultivated in the Formby area for over 200 years. Whilst enjoying increased popularity today, it was once considered something of an exclusive delicacy to be enjoyed solely by the upper classes. Formby asparagus farms of the 1920s and 30s regularly supplied the likes of Harrods, Covent Garden and the transatlantic ocean liners including Cunard’s ill-fated Titanic.
 

Enjoy a gentle woodland stroll and picnic in the pine woods

The Formby walking trail was newly opened in 2015 to commemorate the local asparagus trade and all those who pioneered it. The trail is made up of 2.8 miles of easy walking through spectacular pine woods, open fields, broadleaf forests and golden sand dunes. It passes both historical and active asparagus fields and, at key points, invites you to stop at life-sized carved wooden statues, listening points and information boards.

See British asparagus growing in Formby

Discover the dying art of traditional asparagus farming

Listen to an enlightening talk by David Brooks, the owner of Larkhill Farm. He’s the 4th generation of his family to farm asparagus in Formby. During the harvesting season, watch asparagus being washed, cut and bunched by hand in the traditional manner. Amazingly, an asparagus spear takes only a day to grow. It will grow a few centimetres in an hour, given the right conditions. The key is free draining sandy soil, plenty of organic matter, irrigation and a favourable warm climate – elements that are all in abundance on Larkhill farm.
 

Treat yourself to a spear or two of sweet buttered asparagus

Used by some of the country’s top chefs, connoisseurs claim that Formby asparagus has a uniquely sweet flavour that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. At the end of the trail, take home a bunch of spears to savour. Whether you prefer crunchy spears dripping in butter, wrapped in ham, steamed, chargrilled or dunked in lemon mayonnaise, this souvenir of your foodie day out in Lancashire won’t disappoint.
 

Tips

  • The asparagus harvest traditionally runs from St George’s Day in April until the summer solstice six weeks later
  • This walk is ideal for wheelchairs and buggies as the incline is only slight
  • If you love asparagus, make a date for the annual Asparagus Festival in Worcestershire. It’s held at The Fleece Inn, a National Trust pub
  • Take time to visit Crosby beach to see Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’. This permanent art installation consists of 100 cast-iron, life-size figures spread out along three kilometres of the foreshore, stretching almost one kilometre out to sea

Cook’s Tip

Asparagus is soaringly high in folic acid, antioxidants, vitamin C and is even a reported aphrodisiac (oh la la). For a simple supper, griddle asparagus spears, cherry tomatoes and slices of salty halloumi cheese and drizzle with olive oil


WHERE TO STAY

Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa – a luxurious spa with an 18-hole Championship golf course.

The Vincent Hotel & Spa in Southport – a boutique hotel with modern decor, spa facilities, restaurant and bar.

Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool – a contemporary and minimalist hotel in the heart of Liverpool with an award-winning restaurant


DOGS

Fox terrier, Mr Hendricks expert dog friendly days out Lancashire
A fabulous doggy day out for me. They tell me the Formby Asparagus Trail is a dog friendly zone but I need to be kept under control and must not disturb any wildlife.

Mr Hendricks


HOW TO FIND THE FORMBY ASPARAGUS TRAIL

 

National Trust Formby, Victoria Road, Freshfield, Formby, Liverpool L37 1LJ

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