Hartlepool Borough Council

Countryside Wardens Service

Local Nature Reserves

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Hartlepool Borough Council manages a total of 215.6 hectares of Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) spread across six sites.  These are:

  • Seaton Common and Dunes
  • Greatham Beck
  • Summerhill
  • Spion Kop
  • Hart to Haswell Walkway
  • Hart Warren Dunes

Local Nature Reserves are for both people and wildlife.  They are places with wildlife or geological features that are of special interest locally, which give people special opportunities to study and learn about them or simply enjoy and have contact with nature.

General information about each LNR is provided below.  For more detailed information, Email countrysidewardens@hartlepool.gov.uk or call 01429 853325.

Seaton Common and DunesSeaton Dunes

Seaton Common and Dunes can be split into two distinct sites; the Common, and the Dunes.  Both are situated south of Seaton Carew, north of Hartlepool Power Station and east of Tees Road.

The reserve is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest under Section 28E of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Seaton Common covers approximately 75 hectares and its primary importance is as a wet grassland which attracts vast numbers of passage migrants over winter and as a breeding ground for birds in the summer months.

Seaton Dunes covers approximately 32 hectares and is the largest sand dune system between Lindisfarne to the north and the Humber to the south.

Greatham Beck Local Nature Reserve

Greatham Beck is a small but important nature reserve, covering approximately 1 hectare which runs the length of the western edge of the Fens Estate.

The beck is one of the last remaining strongholds in Hartlepool of the nationally declining watervole.

The beck is fringed by deciduous woodland that provides a rich and varied habitat for many species including bird species such as great spotted woodpecker and sparrowhawk.

Summerhill Local Nature Reservesummerhill

Summerhill was transformed from a network of 8 fields into a varied nature reserve and outdoor sports facility.  As the site matures the value to nature also increases.

The 65,000 trees that were planted in the late 1990's are maturing into substantial woodland.  Ponds and grassland meadows are now also becoming more established.

Summerhill also has a visitor centre that is open 9.00am to 5.00pm every day including weekends.

To find out more call the Summerhill team on 01429 284584 or visit the webpage.

Spion Kop Local Nature ReserveSpion Kop

Spion Kop Cemetery Local Nature Reserve provides an unusual mix of coastal, limestone and industrial heritage habitats that produces rich dune grassland that is of such a high quality that it is unique in Hartlepool and rare within the Tees Valley.

This historic cemetery was formed from a combination of sand dune and ship's ballast and became the final resting place for some 26,300 souls, including many of the Headland's most famous sons and daughters.

The cemetery is still receiving burials on a restricted basis and is now managed in a sensitive manner to promote the site's natural flora and fauna.

The site is located on Old Cemetery Road which can be found off Thorpe Street.

Local residents have formed a 'Friends of Spion Kop' group and are actively involved with the long term management of the site. To find out more about the site or speak to the Chair of the 'Friends' group please telephone Liz Torley on 01429 428404.

Hart to Haswell Walkway Local Nature Reserve

Hart to Haswell WalkwayThe Walkway was once a railway line designed by George Stephenson to take coal from the Durham coal fields to the docks in Hartlepool, where the coal was then distributed throughout the world.

Today, the Hart to Haswell Walkway has been developed into one of the most diverse and beautiful Local Nature Reserves in the area.

The thin lime-rich soil enables a species rich meadow to flourish.  The former railway cuttings provide sheltered environments and have been developed into grassland glades which attract many species of butterfly including the common blue and dingy skipper.

The site also has several ponds and some of the most substantial mature deciduous woodland in Hartlepool which provide a home to many insects, amphibians, birds and mammals.

This site is accessible off Ocean Road at Hart Station and provides a flat surfaced track suitable for wheelchairs.

Hart Warren Dunes Local Nature Reserve

Hart Warren Dunes is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is the only calcareous dune system of any significance in the British Isles.

The site is home to a wealth of wildlife including many regionally rare orchids, such as the burnt tip and pyramidal orchid. The dunes also have a breeding colony of the rare Durham argus butterfly which feeds on the rock rose that grows along the coast in this area.

Hart Warren Dunes is located south of Crimdon Beck but has limited access due to the nature of the site.  Access is possible either by approaching the site along the beach from Crimdon to the north or the Headland to the south.

Alternately, there is a Public Right of Way which accesses the area via the footbridge on the Hart to Haswell Walkway.


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Address: c/o The Gatehouse
Power Station
Tees Road
Seaton Carew
TS25 2BZ

Tel: 01429 853325

Email: countrysidewardens@hartlepool.gov.uk

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Telephone: 01429 266522

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