Landscape In Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire
650 hectare site attracting thousands of birds every year.
Two years ago, I barely knew the names of any birds: Blackbird, Robin and Sparrow was about the limit of my bird knowledge. When Covid hit, I spent a lot of time staring aimlessly out of the window, and started paying more attention to the birds. Now I can probably identify over 130 species of bird, and places like RSPB Saltholme are the perfect place to visit if you're new to birdwatching.
There is something to see all year round at Saltholme, with Spring and Autumn being the busiest times for birds. In Spring you might see Lapwing, Sand Martins, Swallows and Terns, while in Autumn you might see waders such as Ruff, Godwit or Sandpipers. You might even see something rare like a Bittern or Marsh Harrier which we have been lucky to catch a glimpse of when we visited.
You don't necessarily need to be a bird watcher to enjoy Saltholme. There are some lovely walks around the site, and with 650 hectares to enjoy, you can spend the full day there. On your wander, you'll see some stunning views over the ponds to Roseberry Topping and more industrial views of the Transporter Bridge. Some of the paths are quite a challenge and walking boots will be needed. You can download a map from the RSPB Website if you want to plan your day before you go.
As you might expect from an RSPB reserve, there are great facilities including a gift shop and cafe which overlooks one of the ponds. Entrance fee is currently £4 per adult (bargain!) and it's currently open 9.30am - 5pm until 1 November 2022. Check their website for opening times.
Place contributed by Sandra Clemens
I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.
The Transporter Bridge that spans the River Tees in Middlesbrough.
A lone Sycamore Tree that stands on Hadrian's Wall and is considered the most photographed spot in the Northumberland National Park.
A Victorian public park in Walker, Newcastle with links to Robert Burns and its own population of Ring Necked Parakeets.
A modern take on a 16th Century Physic Garden dedicated to the life of Morpeth native William Turner, also known as the "Father of British Botany"