Teesmouth National Nature Reserve

Teesmouth National Nature Reserve is a nature reserve with a difference. Surrounded by heavy industry, the reserve is a key example of how nature can adapt and thrive in the most unlikely of situations.

The coastal reserve covers 350 hectares and is divided into two main sections. North Gare, to the north of Hartlepool Power Station, is an area of dunes and grazing marsh. At the southern end, Seal Sands is one of the largest areas of intertidal mudflats on England’s north-east coast.

Teesmouth’s varied landscape attracts a spectacle of interesting wildlife and can be enjoyed all year round. Keep your eyes peeled for the Grey Seals, who can be regularly seen lounging beside the tidal channels at low tide. Migratory ducks and waders are regular visitors at the estuary. During the winter, flocks of knots arrive from Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, as well as Shelducks and Teal from continental Europe. In spring, the likes of Ringed Plover, Lapwing and Snipe come to nest. In the autumn months, the noisy Sandwich Terns arrive for a brief period, as well as the Cormorant, Curlew and Redshank arriving in significant numbers.

A fantastic display of colourful wildflowers brighten North Gare dunes during the summer months. Perhaps the most spectacular are the four species of Marsh Orchid’s that flower in June and July. Lady’s bedstraw and bird’s-foot trefoil add to this vibrant display. In addition, Sand Couch, Marram Grass and Lyme Grass colonise the dunes.

The area is managed to Natural England. The area continues to be highly industrialized but Natural England works to minimize pollution threats, maintain the habitat quality and reduce wildlife disturbance. Both areas are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the whole Reserve is part of the Teesmouth and Cleveland Special Protection Area and Ramsar site.