Corporate report

Cleveland's National Nature Reserves

Published 2 September 2014

Applies to England


Teesmouth NNR is set against a backdrop of heavy industry - it shows how nature can adapt and thrive in the most unlikely situations.

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

Features of interest

Harbour seals and grey seals bask beside the tidal channels. There are 4 different species of marsh orchid, and thousands of migratory waterbirds swooping down to feed on the mudflats.

The reserve is split into 2 main sections.

North Gare is an area of dunes and grazing marsh, the domain of lapwings and flocks of curlew. 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.

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.

See the site visitor leaflet for more details.


The reserve is linked to Route 14 of the National Cycle Network and there are cycle racks at the North Gare car park.

Seaton Carew station is 2 kilometres from North Gare car park. It is possible to walk, cycle or travel by bus to the reserve from this station.

Hartlepool station is 5.5 kilometres from North Gare car park. A taxi service is available from the station.

Information on bus services is available on Traveline.

Teesmouth NNR is mid-way between Hartlepool and Redcar, approximately 5 kilometres to the north of Middlesbrough, to the east of the A178.

The North Gare car park is signposted from the main road to the north of Hartlepool Power Station.

Seal Sands can be accessed from the reserve car park, just south of the bridge over Greatham Creek.

There are orientation panels in the car parks.

A bridleway from Seaton Carew across Seaton Common links to the North Gare car park (2 kilometres). Footpaths from the village of Greatham link to the Seal Sands via Greatham Creek (3.5 kilometres).


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
  • keep dogs under close control
  • no commercial activity without Natural England permission


Be aware that:

  • the ground is rocky and uneven in some areas
  • there are dangerous mud and sand areas where public access is not permitted
  • some places have deep running water and steep banks
  • tides can sometimes be fast rising

You should:

  • respect all signs on the site
  • keep away from the sea in stormy weather
  • be careful of golf balls around the golf course

School and community groups

There is a variety of curriculum based educational programmes based at Teesmouth. The Teesmouth Field Centre adjacent to North Gare offers a range of activities for school and colleges. These activities are free but must be booked in advance.

Contact Teesmouth Field Centre: 01429 264912


To volunteer to take part in conservation management, wildlife monitoring or helping with events contact either Natural England or the Hartlepool Countryside Wardens on 01429 853325.

To volunteer to help with environment education contact Teesmouth Field Centre on 01429 264912.

The Friends of Teesmouth, Seaton Dunes and Common meet every month in Seaton Carew. New members are welcome.


Mike Leakey, Senior Reserve Manager

Teesmouth NNR
Northumbria Team
c/o EDF Energy
Tees Road
TS25 2BZ

Tel: 01429 853325 (office) or 07803 228394 (mobile)