Regional Crime Squad officers, acting on a tip-off, made the find at the National Trust reserve at Freshfield. The reserve of 500 acres of pine forest attracts half a million tourists every year, many coming to see its red squirrels, which are now extinct in most of England.
Detectives found that the buried haul contained an Uzi, two Thompson sub-machine guns, a Bren gun and ammunition.
The reserve was closed while officers carried out their digging operation. The head warden, Martyn Gilbert, said: 'We co-operated with police in closing the property and asking members of the public to leave while the search took place.'
Mr Gilbert added that the reserve had reopened for visitors as usual yesterday.
Detectives investigating the find believe the guns were connected with criminal rather than terrorist activity. A spokesman for Merseyside police said: 'Now we have found the weapons, the next step is to find out how they got there, who buried them and what they were to be used for.
'At this stage we are pleased they have been discovered and are off the streets.'Reuse content