Wild Flowers of the Teesside area

This 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 fertilisers. 

Fragrant Orchid




Guisborough woods


Other Habitats

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:-

Wild flowers of the South Gare

Coastal habitats