Discover the unique beauty that is Tess Barrage and the abundance of amazing wildlife that inhabit the river and surrounding area.
Whether it’s a hot summer’s day or the middle of winter, Tees Barrage offers a unique and picturesque setting for everyone to enjoy.
There is plenty of wildlife to spot in and around the river; from swans and cormorants to salmon and crowd favorites, the entertaining seals that can often be seen bobbing up and down in the river. It has even been known that dolphins travel down as far as Tees Barrage from the North Sea!
The walks around Tees Barrage take you through a mixture of woodland areas, river banks and grass land to give you the maximum wildlife experience and are a hit with families looking to enjoy refreshing days out in the great outdoors.
Portrack Marsh is one of the area’s most important wildlife sites given its location at the very heart of Teesside. The wetland nature reserve attracts hundreds of birds each year and it provides a home to an exciting variety of mammals, amphibians, insects and wildflowers. Find out more about Portrack Marsh on The Wildlife Trust website.
Maze Park is situated on the banks of the River Tees and has attracted more than 12 species of butterfly including the increasingly scarce grayling and dingy skipper as well as an abundance of herb species including yellow wort, black medick, common century and bird’s-foot trefoil. The area also provides an excellent habitat for bird species in national decline such as the grey partridge and skylark. Visit the Maze Park walking and cycling page for photos and videos of the route. The National Trust planted six hectares of woodland and has constructed a number of paths making it easy to get up close to some amazing wildlife.
Scroll through to find out about just some of the wildlife you can expect to see on your visit to Tees Barrage.
Don’t forget we also offer the popular powerboat session, Tees Blast, which explores the River Tees heading from the Barrage towards the Riverside Stadium at Middlehaven.
Find out more information at the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust
Swans and ducks are extremely common along the river tees and can be seen nesting along the banks of the river next to Tees Barrage.
Tees Barrage has a number of options to allow migratory salmon and sea trout to negotiate the barrage and head upstream. This migration takes place in Autumn.
Our most popular resident at Tees Barrage is of course the seals. The Barrage is home to grey seals and harbour seals, more commonly known as common seals, which can be found basking in the sun or bobbing up and down surprising excited viewers.
The mallard is one of Britain's most popular ducks that most of us are familiar with. The male has a dark green head, a yellow bill. The female is mainly brown with an orange bill. Many of the birds that breed in Iceland and Northern Europe spend the winter here.
This species of butterfly are rapidly declining across Britain but can be found along the trails at Maze Park Nature Reserve on the south bank of the River Tees.
Yellow Wagtails are occasional visitors to Portrack Marsh during the summer months and can frequently be seen along the trails or flying around the edges of the grassland collecting flying insects.
The cormorant has an almost primitive appearance with its long neck making it appear almost reptilian. Cormorants are often considered as being sinister and greedy and are supreme fishers. They can often be seen gulping down fish on the banks of the river.
This area is also home to a variety of wildflowers. The Bee Orchid has evolved bee-like flowers which bees are naturally attracted to. As they land the pollen is transferred.
Water Rails are secretive birds and usually stay hidden out of sight. However, they can often be seen foraging out in the open in the middle of frozen pools during very cold, icy winters.
Explore the natural habitats of Tees Barrage in the heart of Teesside
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Our Adventure Days at Tees Barrage are for thrill seeking children (Aged 10-16) who fancy something a little different to keep themselves entertained during the school holidays.
The activities on the day will include kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding and team building exercises and AirTrail. An action packed adventure day at Tees Barrage is incredible value at only £50 per person!