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The Seals of Seal Sands, Teesside

A surprising gem of a wildlife oasis, Seal Sands. The mouth of the River Tees with a backdrop of heavy industry, petro-Chemical plants, nuclear power stations all around on the horizon, yet, seals are here in abundance for all to see, and a remarkable sight to see.

seal-sands The Seals of Seal Sands, Teesside

seal-sands-6 The Seals of Seal Sands, Teesside

With all the industrial buildings around I can imagine people would never dream of thinking about how much wildlife there actually is here. A must stop if you are in the area! You can find the spot to park along the A178 south of Seaton Carew. In fact even from the main road as you drive over, at low tide, you are likely to be greeted by views of seals lazing on the mudflats.

seal-sands-3 The Seals of Seal Sands, Teesside

At low tide the seals haul themselves onto the mudflats in the tidal inlet. There are2 types of seals in the area, harbour (common) seals and grey seals. The seals breed here so it really shows that the river is in great condition amongst the industry.

seal-sands-5 The Seals of Seal Sands, Teesside

seal-sands-2 The Seals of Seal Sands, Teesside

It wasn’t always so. A couple hundred years ago you would have seen over a thousand seals here. Industry came, and during the mid 2oth century there were no seals sighted at all. A lot has improved with cleaning up and environmental knowledge, and in the latter part of the last century the seals returned. It is now common to see 100 of them. Numbers are growing.

seal-sands-9 The Seals of Seal Sands, Teesside

There are not many areas in Britain where you can so easily see a wildlife spectacle such as this, right by a main road too! Remarkable. It was fascinating to watch the younger ones playing near the waters edge as the older ones basked in the sunshine.

seal-sands-10 The Seals of Seal Sands, Teesside

seal-sands-4 The Seals of Seal Sands, Teesside

Seal sands is part of Teesmouth Nature Reserve and many a wildlife lover will know the area. It is not just remarkable for seals but also for birds. The mudflats are perfect for waders, including redshank and dunlin. Short eared owls are in the area along with avocets and so much more. If you are lucky you may even see the peregrine falcons of the area, apparently they use the nuclear reactor to view over the land.

seal-sands-7 The Seals of Seal Sands, Teesside

In fact, this was only a short stop for me as was driving through, but it has wet my appetite to come back and see more of the wildlife in the area. See, a gem of a wildlife oasis right here amongst the industry of the North East of England.

Written by Paul Steele

Founder of and avid hiker, climber and trekker. Never liking to sit still and always seeking new adventures around the world. Sharing personal views here and tweeting live via @paul_steele


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  1. Interestingly seal sands also has a tidal island connected to the mainland by a rock causeway which gets covered by very high tides.this island has no name and is a bird reserve. It lies just east of the nuclear power station about 5km south of seaton Carew.

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