is a very brief description of some of the habitats and special plants
to be found in the lower Tees valley and surrounding area. For a more extensive
look at the habitats of this area I recommend A Guide to the Wild Flowers of Cleveland by Ian Lawrence.
Teesside is a very diverse area with a mixture of farmland and heavy industry, which is composed of mostly chemical and petrochemical plants. The one habitat we really lack in any quantity is woodland, especially deciduous. Despite this, we do have a good mixture of habitats from coastal marshes and dunes to high moorland and bogs.
To cover the area I have picked out areas that I know and have illustrated them with some of the more notable plants.
Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula) is one of the typical, although increasingly
rare constituents of old woodland especially in the south east of the Tees
valley. This orchid can be found in the Saltburn Valley Gardens and other
similar areas. This particular area is free from herbicides and artificial
Most of the semi-natural woodland left in this area is to be found in steep sided
valleys (e.g. Kilton Beck, Skelton Beck, etc) these have been cut by fast
flowing streams and have probably always been uneconomic to farm due to
the steep banks. In the north near Hartlepool these woods are often on
base rich soils and have a canopy of Ash and Wych Elm such as at Thorpe
Bulmer and Nesbitt Denes. On the south side of the Tees the “Gill” woods
are usually on boulder clays with Ash and Oak the main trees, this can
be seen in Saltburn Gill and at Skelton Beck Woods.
The ground flora of these woods often depends on the soils and is often characteristic. Acid woods usually have Greater Woodrush and wood Sorrel. More neutral soils have a more diverse ground flora and tend to be the more interesting floristically.
Other habitats and interesting areas include:-