This location comprises one large pond and several smaller ponds dotted around the site attracting a good variety of water birds, both resident and migrant. There is a permanent head of Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Coot and Moorhen with Cormorants, Little Grebe, Ruddy Duck, Heron seen almost daily. Mute Swan and Canada Geese breed most years. Goldeneye, Red-crested Pochard, Kingfisher and Smew crop up each year. The pond can be accessed from three sides the fourth being a nature reserve. The surrounding bushes hold a good selection of the smaller birds. Whilst unsightly electricity pylons cross the site they provide perfect lookout points for numerous Kestrels.
The streams through the site attract water birds and Kingfisher.
Birds you can see here include:
Black-headed Gull, Eurasian Blackbird, Blue Tit, Eurasian Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Eurasian Coot, Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Common Goldeneye, Goosander, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, European Greenfinch, Grey Wagtail, Eurasian Kestrel, Eurasian Linnet, Long-tailed Tit, Eurasian Magpie, Mallard, Common Moorhen, Mute Swan, Common Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Common Pochard, Redwing, Reed Bunting, Rook, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Siskin, European Starling, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Tufted Duck, Bohemian Waxwing, Eurasian Wren, Yellowhammer, Red-necked Grebe, Willow Tit, Marsh Tit, Carrion Crow, Northern Shoveler, Great Cormorant, Lesser Redpoll, Common Kingfisher, Meadow Pipit, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Little Grebe, European Goldfinch, Fieldfare, Eurasian Robin, Sanderling, Short-eared Owl, Little Egret, Grey Partridge, European Stonechat, European Golden Plover, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Redshank, Grey Heron, Blackcap, Eurasian Woodcock, Eurasian Skylark, Common Tern, Sand Martin, Northern House Martin, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Chiffchaff, Barn Swallow, Willow Warbler, Eurasian Jackdaw, Northern Wheatear, Common Whitethroat, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Common Sandpiper, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-crested Pochard
Several of the smaller wetland areas attract a wide variety of Dragonfly and Damselfly in the Summer for which the site is noted.
Located off the A1185 Seal Sands Road two kilometres east of the A689 Wolviston Roundabout junction on the north side of Billingham. Site facilities include a large metalled car park and several paths providing easy access for the disabled. There is a modern visitor centre, but opening times seem to vary and is geared more toward school visits and organised activities though they won't turn anyone away.
By Bus: Take service 91 from Middlesbrough to Low Grange or the 52 from Middlesbrough, Stockton, Norton or Billingham to Low Grange Avenue. Get off at Bewley Infants School, cross Wolviston Back Lane, and enter the park. A ten-minute walk will bring you to the Activity Centre. Also the Countryside Bus runs during the summer from Stockton and Billingham via all the country parks.
By Bicycle: Sustrans Route 14 runs right through the park. Pick up the route in Stockton, Billingham or Hartlepool and ride to the park. Cycle parking facilities are available at the Activity Centre. Full details of cycle routes in the area are in the 'Cycling in Stockton' leaflet available from Stockton Borough Council.
By car: Turn off the A1185 Seal Sands Link Road, Billingham.
The main site covers approx one square kilometre of mainly grassland which also covers two small hills. There are varied habitats including still water ponds, a stream, reed beds, mixed woodland and several established hedge lines. The south side of Seal Sands Road is part of the park and is mainly recently planted woodland with numerous paths throughout.
Adjacent to the car park and access through a small chain link gate opposite the car park entrance is a bird feeding station which is kept going throughout Winter and early Spring attracting a very good head of birds with regular visitors including Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Redwing, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Willow Tit, Marsh Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker. There is a second smaller feeding station behind the visitors centre used by ringers but access isn't as good as the main one with food only provided when ringing is in progress.
History and Use
Originally the site was used for clay extraction for manufacture of bricks. Following disuse it remained a private site with the main pond used for fishing. Various periods of use as a dump followed before finally being reclaimed for use as an area of parkland.
Areas of Interest
Activity Centre, large pond, numerous footpaths through grassland and woodland including Faith Wood.
Access and Facilities
Months Open: All Year
Car Park opening hours:
Summer : 9am-9pm
Activity Centre - Sundays 10am-4pm (also Mondays and Fridays during school summer holidays)
Car parking facilities: Yes
Coach parking facilities: Yes
Picnic area (uncovered): Yes
Wheelchair access: Yes
Children's play area: Yes
Shop/gift centre: Yes
Coffee shop: Yes
The Activity Centre Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park Seal Sands Link Road Billingham TS23 3NF Phone: 01642 371633 Email: Tommy.Pybus'at'stockton.gov.uk