A former coal mine, railway and salt works are among the sites reclaimed by nature and now flourishing with wildlife
This is a wetland nature reserve on the site of a former salt works in the Tees valley, where the skyline is still dominated by heavy industry. Usually, 65,000 people visit the reserve each year, hoping to spot otters, harvest mice and water voles – all of which are relatively easy to see here, as they’re used to visitors. In summer, see the sand martins that nest in the banks of the creeks, and also the busy colony of common terns, which utter a constant chorus of harsh, unmusical cries all day long. Come winter, the pools are thronged with waders and ducks from Siberia, the evening starling roost is spectacular, and barn, long-eared and short-eared owls can be seen hunting at dusk.
• Currently open 8.30am-4pm, car park (limited capacity) and trails open; visitor centre, shop, cafe and toilets closed at time of publication; check website for updates, rspb.org.uk