Natural England - Teesmouth NNR

Teesmouth NNR

Teesmouth NNR is a nature reserve with a difference. Set against a backdrop of heavy industry, it shows how nature can adapt and thrive in the most unlikely situations.

Teesmouth NNR © Don Stephenson

Where: Cleveland

Main habitat: Sand dunes, grazing marsh, intertidal sand and mudflats

Why visit:
While power stations and other industrial sites may loom large on the horizon, the reserve is still home to an amazing array of flora and fauna.

Look out for harbour seals and grey seals basking beside the tidal channels, rare plants including four different species of marsh orchid, and thousands of migratory waterbirds swooping down to feed on the mudflats. 

The site contains two Sites of Special Scientific Interest and the whole reserve is part of the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast Special Protection Area.

Star species: The reserve is split into two main sections.

North Gare is an area of dunes and grazing marsh. During winter this is the domain of lapwings and flocks of curlew, which stalk the pastures alongside the approach road, while short-eared owls hunt amongst the dune grasslands. Fantastic displays of wild flowers can be seen in the spring and summer. including six different species of orchid.

Seal Sands is one of the largest areas of intertidal mudflats on England's north-east coast. When the tide is out, hundreds of waders, including redshank and dunlin peck through the mud looking for invertebrates. The colony of harbour seals haul out on the sand banks at low tide; their pups are born here each summer, making Seal Sands the only regular breeding colony of these animals on England's north-east coast.


Please note that the following bye-laws are in force on the reserve:

  • No motorbikes or quad-bikes as they can damage plants and disturb birds
  • No fires as these can severely harm the invertebrate population
  • No bait gathering as this may disturb birds and seals
  • Please keep dogs under close control

Park at the Teesmouth NNR car park alongside the A178 at Greatham Creek, cross the road with care, and follow the Easy Access Path along the south bank of the creek to the two bird hides overlooking Seal Sands.

Further information

Teesmouth NNR Senior Reserve Manager: 07803 228394