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A sign on Freshfield Dune Heath will be unveiled to commemorate 75 years since Woodvale opened

Sign tells story of brave airmen

There will be a celebration of war and peace at a Merseyside airfield which has been reclaimed by nature.

On Wednesday 7th December, a sign will be unveiled to commemorate 75 years since Woodvale Airfield opened during the War. The sign will tell visitors to our Freshfield Dune Heath nature reserve, how it became an airfield and some of the heroic events and people associated with it.

The ceremony will be held by Formby Civic Society at Freshfield Dune Heath a Lancashire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve, to unveil a war memorial to those lost during the second world war on the 75th anniversary of Woodvale Airfield.

RAF Woodvale was originally created following the very destructive 1940-41 bombing raids on Merseyside on December 7, 1941.

The airfield saw a lot of action during the war, mainly as a defence base for the raids on Liverpool. It was also used by many American aircraft bringing personnel to rest and recuperate at Southport. In October 1944 a B-24 crashed on landing, killing five of the 20 occupants. A total of 22 airmen based at Woodvale died during the war.

After the war the airfield was operated by the Royal Navy for a few months before reverting back to the RAF. It is now in use by 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, Liverpool University Air Squadron, Manchester and Salford University Air Squadron, No 10 Air Experience Flight, No 631 Volunteer Gliding School, No 611 (Woodvale) Squadron ATC, HQ Merseyside Air Wing ATC and Woodvale Private Owners flying group.

The airfield is surrounded by Freshfield Dune Heath, the largest lowland heath site in Lancashire. There are records of common lizards and sand lizards on the site.

Short-tailed field voles, water voles, red squirrels and weasels are often seen on at Freshfield. More than 75 species of bird have been recorded.

An interpretation board telling the story of the airfield will be unveiled to celebrate the 75th anniversary.

The short ceremony on Wednesday 7th December at 10.30am, the 75th anniversary of Woodvale Airfield will be attended by The Formby Civic Society, personnel of RAF Woodvale and staff and volunteers from Lancashire Wildlife Trust.

The site is open to the public with pedestrian entrances opposite the level crossing on Montagu Road and from the bridle path off West Lane.

Please see the Wildlife Trust website for further information about the site:

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