Dave Barlow © Cleveland Naturalists’ Field Club. 7th April 2024


Welcome to Cleveland Naturalists’ Field Club

As the popularity of the area increased there was a demand for leisure areas.  The Skelton Beck valley running inland from the beach towards Skelton was the obvious choice and this was cleared and paths laid down.  Grassy areas were left for picnicking sites.  A special Italian Gardens area was established and a bandstand was built.  Tests on a local spring established that the water was comparable to that of Harrogate so a stone fountain with metal drinking cups was erected.

The gardens were very popular but a toll was charged to use these so it was chiefly the visitors that benefited from this scheme.  In order to provide a free park for all the local people, in 1896 at a local Saltburn Council Meeting it was decided that Hazel Grove should be acquired and turned into a public park.  As a result of this, Lord Zetland, the owner, kindly presented 8 acres of land at Hazel Grove for the project.  Unfortunately the cost of establishing the park was estimated at two thousand pounds.  This gave rise to disputes within the council and it was 1904 before paths were laid and the undergrowth cleared.  At the entrance to the park a bandstand was built and this can be seen in old photographs.

Over past years the valley became rather neglected.  The bandstand disappeared, the paths were in disrepair, the beck polluted.  The ravine runs parallel to the coast and is separated from it by fields which are part of Windy Hill Farm.  On the inland side of the ravine are allotments and a caravan site.  Although this wooded area is close to the sea front at Saltburn and the centre of the town it remains very much a hidden valley used mainly by the local residents and the people using the caravan site.

In recent years serious attempts have been made to repair the footpaths, prevent tipping of rubbish from the allotment areas and clean out the beck.  Steps are now being taken to raise sufficient money to restore the original Victorian footpath to Hazel Grove, which in recent years has become neglected and overgrown.  In 1995-6 the banks near the end of the promenade at Hazel Grove were considerably disturbed owing to the laying of pipes for a new sewerage scheme.  This destroyed some of the coastal vegetation but when the scheme was completed the area was reseeded and steps were taken to prevent erosion of the banks that had been disturbed.

Apart from the footpath from Marine Parade and the promenade, access to the woods can be gained from the caravan site and from the Parkway off Marske Road where there is a tunnel that passes under the railway line.  Cutting across the far end of the wood is a footpath and cycleway.  There is also a footpath from the Marske – Saltburn Rd. which crosses the railway line and joins this.  The horses from the local stables often use this but there is no bridle path down the valley.

Prior to the C19th century the growth of hazel for coppicing was extremely important.  The hazel rods had many uses.  They were woven into hurdles to fence in pigs, cattle and sheep. The trees also produced the wattle for wattle and daub buildings.  The brushwood was bundled into faggots that were used to fire bread ovens etc.  In this area many were woven into ‘corves’ or baskets which were used in the Durham pits.  It is possible that hazel in this valley was put to some of these uses.  Today the predominant trees are Sycamores, Scots Pines, Corsican Pines and a few Ash trees.  New species have been introduced in recent years alongside the path from Marine Drive.  These include Whitebeams, Norway Spruce and a few Oak trees.

In the valley the understorey is dominated by Bramble, Hawthorn, Dog Rose and Elder.  Interspersed with these are a number of Gooseberry and Red Currant bushes.  The last two mentioned have probably been introduced by birds from fruit collected in the nearby allotments.

The Sycamore trees form a very dense canopy.  The water draining down this valley from the surrounding hillsides also creates a rather damp atmosphere in the woods.  This has given rise to a very rich fern flora.  This is one of the best sites in this area for Hart’s Tongue Fern.  The plant lists also show there is quite a rich ground flora although this is restricted to a certain extent by the dense canopy formed by the Sycamore trees.

The top of the valley near the allotments and railway line opens out into an area of scrubland dominated by Hawthorn, Gorse and Dog Rose.


The Flora of Hazel Grove, Saltburn by the Sea


Hazel Grove is a small narrow wooded ravine lying to the north of Saltburn GR. NZ655215.  There is a beck running through the ravine known as Pit Hills Skell.  Water drains into this from an area known as Pit Hills near Marske End Farm.  Since the Middles Ages ironstone was mined here from the surrounding hills but it was not until 1851 that the true importance of the ironestone seams was discovered and the ironstone mining industry became established.

As a result of all this industry large numbers of people moved into the area.  Some came to work here but many were wealthy people who were willing to invest their money here.  Henry Pease, one of the local ironmasters, realised the potential of the area and as a result of this the town of Saltburn was built on the cliff tops.  This was a spa town with a few large hotels to cater for the wealthy and a network of boarding houses for the workers who could afford a holiday.  The bringing of the railway to Saltburn established its success.

Wood Anemone Black Bryony

Acer pseudoplatanus

Achillea millefolium

Aegopodium podagaria

Ajuga reptans

Alliaria petiolata

Allium ursinum

Anemone nemorosa

Angelica sylvestris

Anisantha sterilis

Anthriscus sylvestris

Arctium minus ssp. nemorosum

Arum maculatum

Barbarea vulgaris

Bellis perennis

Brachypodium sylvaticum

Bromopsis ramosa

Calystegia sp.

Capsella bursa-pastoris

Cardamine pratensis

Carduus crispus ssp. Multiflorus

Carex pendula

Carex sylvatica

Centranthus ruber

Chaerophyllum temulum

Chamerion augustifolium

Chrysoplenium oppositifolium

Circae lutetiana

Cirsium arvense

Cirsium palustre

Cirsium vulgare

Conopodium majus

Cragaegus monogyna ssp. nordica

Crepis capillaris

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora

Dactylis glomerata

Dryopteris dilatata

Dryopteris filix-mas

Equisetum arvense

Equisetum telmateia

Eupatorium cannabinum

Fallopia japonica

Festuca gigantea

Filipendula ulmaria

Fragaria vesca

Fraxinus excelsior

Galium aparine

Galium odoratum

Geranium robertianum

Geum urbanum

Glechoma hederacea

Hedera helix

Heracleum sphondylium ssp. sphon.

Holcus lanatus

Hordeum murinum ssp. murinum

Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Ilex aquifolium

Juncus bufonius

Lamium album

Lamium purpureum

Lapsana communis ssp. communis

Larix kaempferi

Lonicera periclymenum

Lotus corniculatus

Malva sylvestris

Melical uniflora

Mercurialis perennis

Origanum vulgare

Phragmites australis

Phyllitis scolopendrium

Pilosella officianarum

Pinus nigra ssp. laricio

Pinus sylvestris

Plantago Coronopus

Plantago laceolata

Plantago major

Poa annua

Poa pratensis

Poa trivialis

Polygonum aviculare

Populus sp.

Potentilla anserina

Potentiall reptans

Primula veris

Prunella vulgaris

Prunus padus

Prunus spinosa

Psuedotsuga menziesii

Pteridium aquilinum

Quercus robur

Quercus x rosacea

Ranunculus auricomus

Ranunculus ficaria ssp. bulbilifer

Ranunculus ficaria ssp. ficaria

Ranunculus repens

Ribes rubrum

Ribes sanguineum

Riber uva-crispa

Rosa canina

Rose rugosa

Rubus fruticosus agg.

Rumex obrusifolium

Rumex sanguineum

Sagina procumbens

Sambucus nigra

Sanguisorba minor ssp. minor

Sanicula europaea

Scrophularia nodosa

Senecio jacobaea

Senecio squalidus

Senecio vulgaris

Silaum silaus

Silene dioica

Sisymbrium officinal

Sonchus asper

Sonchus oleraceous

Sorbus aria agg.

Stachys sylvatica

Stellaria holostea

Stellaria media

Symphoricarpos albus

Tamus communis

Taraxacum officinale agg.

Teucrium scorodonia

Trifolium pratense

Tussilago farfara

Urtica dioica

Veronia chamaedrys

Veronica hederifolia ssp. lucorum

Veronica montana

Vicia cracca

Vicia sativa ssp. segetalis

Vicia sepium

Viola reichenbachiana

Viola riviniana





Garlic Mustard


Wood Anemone

Wild Angelica

Barren brome

Cow Parsley

Lesser Burdock




False Brome

Hairy Brome

Hedge Bindweed



Welted Thistle

Pendulous Sedge

Wood Sedge

Red Valerian

Rough Chervil

Rosebay Willow-herb

Opposite-lvd. Golden Saxifrage


Creeping Thistle

Marsh Thistle

Spear Thistle



Smooth Hawk’s-beard



Broad Buckler-fern


Field Horsetail

Great Horsetail

Hemp Agrimony

Japanese Knotweed

Giant Fescue


Wild Strawberry





Wood Avens





Wall Barley



Toad Rush

White Dead-nettle

Red Dead-nettle


Japanese Larch


Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil

Common Mallow

Wood Melic

Dog’s Mercury

Wild Marjoram

Common Reed


Mouse-ear Hawkweed

Corsican Pine

Scot’s Pine

Buck’s-horn Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Broad-leaved Plantain

Annual Meadow-grass

Smooth Meadow-grass

Rough Meadow-grass




Creeping Cinquefoil



Bird Cherry


Douglas Fir


Pendunculate Oak

Hybrid Oaks


Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine

Creeping Buttercup

Red Currant

Flowering Currant


Dog Rose

Japanese Rose


Broad-leaved Dock

Wood Dock

Knotted Pearlwort


Salad Burnet


Common figwort

Common Ragwort

Oxford Ragwort


Pepper Saxifrage

Red Campion

Hedge Mustard

Prickly Sow-thistle

Smooth Sow-thistle

Common Whitebeam

Hedge Woundwort

Greater Stitchwort

Common Chickweed


Black Bryony


Wood Sage

Red Clover



Germander Speedwell

Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Wood Speedwell

Tufted Vetch

Common Vetch

Bush Vetch

Early Dog-violet

Common Dog-violet