History of Formby.

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History of Formby.

The present landscape of Formby documents the constant changes in climate and sea level which has occurred since the Ice Age about 12,000 years ago. Between and beneath the dunes formed slack silts and peats. Pollen and animals remains preserved in these have indicated how Mesolithic hunters; some 7,000 years ago began clearing the birch and pine woodlands.

From the Neolithic, settlers have used the area for animal husbandry. The earliest records are the medieval land grants to Cockersand Abbey for the grazing of cattle. Sheep and horses are known to have been kept at Ainsdale and Ravenmeals from about 1200 whereas the dunes were used as warrens for rabbits, historically an important food source until about 1750.
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Efforts at cultivation, which depends upon the successful stabilisation of the dunes (by protecting with pine plantation and marram), are comparatively recent. The little group of dry ditched fields at Wicks lane grew rye in the 1930s, but these and others have only commercially produced asparagus.

Stormy periods, such as occurred in the 14th century, caused the dunes to move. Old town Formby got swamped about 1550 and as the sand moves away other long-buried sites are revealed. The fossil pine forest at the mouth of the Alt and the footprints of prehistoric man and the deer ...

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