One of the things about lockdown is that we've been able to stumble on some amazing places right on our doorstep which ordinarily we wouldn't have known about.
If you've been out discovering where you live then you may already know about a lovely relaxing walk through the Formby countryside.
Take the family on a stroll along the Asparagus Trail, a hidden gem nestled in Formby's National Trust site and discover the story behind Formby's famous asparagus.
READ MORE:Top tips to beat the crowds at Formby Beach and the Sefton Coast
During the 1800s local families worked to level areas of Formby's sand dunes specifically to grow asparagus and it has remained popular ever since.
The outdoor trail, which can be accessed from Victoria Road in Formby, is fun for all the family - even your four-legged furry friends.
According to the National Trust, asparagus cultivation has left its mark on the landscape of Formby which can still be seen today. The areas of flat land and fields that you see throughout the site aren't natural but are areas where the land has been levelled in the past for the growing of asparagus. Since the end of asparagus farming in the 1990s, these fields have been left to grass over, however, the remnants of the cultivation fields can still be seen today as ridges and furrows.
On the trail, you can see giant sculptures by local sculptor Simon Archer - including a larger than life Jimmy Lowe, who established his Pine Trees Farm at Victoria Road in 1925, an active asparagus farm, Sandfield Farm, where David Brooks still grows Formby asparagus in the traditional way.
The field next to Larkhill fields is part of Larkhill Farm where the Brooks Family also grow the crop. The Brooks family have grown asparagus in Formby for a number of generations and work hard to keep the tradition of Formby asparagus alive.
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The sandy soil and climate of this area are ideal for growing asparagus as it needs well-drained soils and open sunny fields. It is a high-maintenance crop that needs regular weeding and very careful harvesting, tasks which are still carried out by hand today as they would have been a century ago.
The Formby Asparagus Trail takes about an hour and 15 minutes and is just under three miles long. There's also a shorter asparagus trail for children approximately 1.5 miles long.
The National Trust recommends the following route on its website.
How to get to the Asparagus Trail
Start the trail at the main notice board opposite the toilets at National Trust Formby.
1. Take the path to the right-hand side of the notice board and, after a very short distance, turn right at the first path junction. Continue on and where the path turns left on to a boardwalk, leave this path and take the path straight ahead.
2. Continue along this path, pass the family picnic site (which is on your left-hand side) and take the next path on your left, approximately 80 yards (75m). Cross a flat grassy area and turn left onto a wide path. Follow this path as it makes a sharp turn right and continue on.
3. At a T-junction turn left and follow a stone path through a small area of woodland into an open field, where more remnants of asparagus cultivation can be seen. Continue straight on across the field and at the far side take the path which leads straight ahead (ignoring the paths to the left and right) up a slope into pine woodland. After a short distance pass by a bench seat, with a carving of a red squirrel, on your right.
4. At the brow of the hill, the path forks. Take the left fork and continue down, passing an enclosed pine plantation on your right followed by a small field where asparagus has been grown in the past and a few asparagus plants can still be seen growing. At the end of this track, pass through a field gate onto a road. Turn right along Blundell Avenue. After a short distance across the road taking a clear path on the left, past wooden bollards, onto an open field.
5. Continue on following the right edge of the field. At the end of the open field, pass through a kissing gate into an enclosed field. Heather grows here with other plants typical of dune heath.
6. Once through the gate take the path straight ahead. Follow this path as it curves to the left and meets a fence corner by some cottages. At the fence corner, follow the clear path round to the right and head towards a kissing gate next to a field gate. Pass through the gate on to a farm track. (You may like to make a short detour along the track to the right to buy a bunch of Formby asparagus from the Brooks family at Larkhill Farm. To return to the walk retrace your steps to the gate at the end of point 6 and continue from point 7.
7. Cross the track and pass through a kissing gate into a small field. Take the path straight ahead across the length of the field to a kissing gate in the far left corner. Pass through the gate and emerge onto Wicks Lane. Cross in front of the large gates and turn right, passing through some metal barriers onto a broad bridle path.
8. Follow this enclosed path, passing a primary school and a housing estate on your left, until you pass two wooden bollards set into the path. After the bollards, the path forks, take the permissive bridle path on the right with the blue-topped way-markers. Follow this path as it curves left and comes out of the woodland onto an open field with a fine view of sand dunes straight ahead in the distance.
9. At this point leave the bridlepath (which turns right into the pine woods) and take the middle path of three broad grass paths heading across the field towards the sand dunes. After passing a small fenced plantation of pines on your right you'll reach a wide stone path, this is the Sefton Coastal Path. Turn right along this stone path, immediately passing a fenced field on your left.
10. Continue on the stone path as it enters broadleaf woodland. After a short distance, you will come to a crossroads, go straight across and follow the path until it reaches a T-junction and turns left along a wide path. Continue along this path as it passes a fenced agricultural field on the right and curves right into pine woodland.
11. Follow this wide path as it makes a sharp left-hand bend and continues along past open pine woodland on your left and an enclosed pine plantation on your right. At the end of the plantation, the landscape on your right opens out to dune grassland. Continue along this path, ignoring all paths going off to your left and right, crossing a very sandy section where the sand dunes meet the path on your left.
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12. Immediately after the sandy section the path forks. Take the right fork, passing a bench. After a short distance follow this path as it curves left into broadleaf woodland. Follow this clear compacted woodland path. After approximately ¼ mile (0.4km) the path forks, take the right/lower level fork to pass the picnic site that you passed at point 2. Continue straight on as the path narrows.
13. At a path junction on a fenced trail, instead of retracing your steps from the start of the walk, turn right and take the boardwalk path. Follow this boardwalk as it bends round to the left and up a slope. At the end of the boardwalk continue to the top of the slope where you will find a crossroads. Take the fenced path on your left and follow this as it bends round sharply to the left. Shortly after the bend take the path going off to the right to return to the start of the walk.