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Southport lies on the Irish Sea coast and is fringed to the north by the Ribble estuary.
The town is 16.7 miles (26.9 km) north of Liverpool and 14.8 miles (23.8 km) southwest of Preston.
A particular feature of the town is the extensive tree planting.
This was one of the conditions required by the Hesketh family when they made land available for development in the 19th century.
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Historically part of Lancashire, the town was founded in 1792 when William Sutton, an innkeeper from Churchtown, built a bathing house at what now is the south end of Lord Street.
At that time, the area, known as South Hawes, was sparsely populated and dominated by sand dunes.
Hesketh Park at the northern end of the town is named after them, having been built on land donated by Rev. The earliest recorded human activity in the region was during the Middle Stone Age, when mesolithic hunter gatherers were attracted by the abundant red deer and elk population, as well as the availability of fish, shellfish and woodland.
Roman coins have been found at Halsall Moss and Crossens, although the Romans never settled southwest Lancashire.