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Man-made cliffs of Tobacco Waste at Formby Point


At the southern end of Formby beach, you will come across the tobacco cliffs, named for the waste tobacco leaf that was dumped in the dunes from 1956 to 1974. As the dunes recede, the tobacco becomes more conspicuous but, how did the tobacco cliffs get here?


Formby Bubble spoke to Andrew Brockbank of National Trust who explained all. The British Nicotine Company extracted nicotine from lower grade tobacco leaf at their plant in Derby Road, Bootle. They did this until their closure of the company in the mid 1970’s. De-nicotinised tobacco leaf was tipped on the site of one of Jimmy Lowe’s former asparagus fields to the south of Victoria Road between 1953 and 1974.


At its peak, an incredible 20,000 tonnes a year of wet tobacco leaf waste was being tipped here, probably with little forethought to the future. Hence the tobacco cliffs. Winter storms erode the cliffs often forming harmless ‘boulders’ of tobacco waste on the beach and of course this exposes the cliffs which have recently become an artist’s sketch pad.


Please be very aware that it is not safe to climb these cliffs. Please do not attempt to do any ‘rock art’. The cliffs can be quite unstable especially after winter storms and high tides.



Read our article about the new rock drawings that have appeared on the cliffs and find out what Andrew Brockbank thinks they are by CLICKING HERE


Thanks to Andrew Brockbank of the Formby National Trust for the information in this article. You can visit the National Trust website by clicking here to find out more about their incredible work for Formby coast.


Also thanks to CITiZAN for the top photo, their article can be viewed here.



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