Tees Lowlands Assets and Attributes
Parts of the Tees Vale in the west are designated as an Areas of High Landscape Value (AHLV) in Local Plans.
- View Landscape Designations map
International Nature Conservation Designations
National and Local Nature Conservation Designations
There are two small Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the Tees Lowlands, both wetlands, at Pike Whin Bog and Railway Stell West. There are a small number of County Wildlife Sites (now known as Local Wildlife Sites), made up largely of semi-natural woodlands along the River Tees and other small woodlands and wetlands scattered across the plain.
- View National and Local Nature Conservation Designations map
Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Habitats and Species
The landscape is important for a number of national and local Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitats and species.
Priority habitats in the Durham Biodiversity Action Plan (DBAP) represented in the Tees Lowlands include:
- Ancient Semi Natural Woodland
- Other Broadleaved Woodland
- Native Hedgerows
- Veteran Trees
- Wet Woodland
- Floodplain Grazing Marsh
- Lowland Fen Habitats
- Phragmnites Australis Reedbed
- Rivers and Streams
- Lowland Meadows and Pasture
- Road Verges of Conservation Importance
- Waxcap Grasslands
Priority species in the Durham Biodiversity Action Plan (DBAP) found in the Tees Lowlands include:
- Brown Hare
- Harvest Mouse
- Water Vole
- Barn Owl
- Corn Bunting
- House Sparrow
- Reed Bunting
- Song Thrush
- Tree Sparrow
- Yellow Wagtail
- Common Lizard
- Great Crested Newt
- Mud snail Comphiscola Glabra
- White-clawed Crayfish
- White-letter Hairstreak
- Black Poplar
Semi-natural habitats occupy a very small proportion of the Tees Lowlands. The majority of grasslands are improved with scattered patches of semi-improved or wet pasture. The woodland network is heavily fragmented with woods largely confined to heavily wooded, but isolated, estate landscapes. Many woods are plantations which affects their network value for some species – as does their generally small scale. Wetland habitats occur as small and isolated features with some concentration on the flat Carrs of the Skerne and the Langley Beck. The overall pattern of habitat distribution is ‘patchy’ with localised pockets of semi-natural habitats separated by extensive areas of intensive farmland or built development.
- View Habitat Network Map
Ancient Semi-natural Woodlands
There are few ancient semi-natural woodlands in the Tees Lowlands. Ancient oak woods are found on low bluffs along the River Tees and at Gainford Great Wood. There is a single example of wet woodland, Carr Wood, near Bishop Middleham
- View Ancient Woodland Map
Earth Heritage Designations
Archaeological Sites and Monuments
The landscape contains archaeological remains from the Neolithic period onwards, many of which are recorded in the Durham Sites and Monuments Record (SMR). A small number of these are designated as Scheduled Ancient Monuments, all medieval features, ranging from deserted villages to bridges and manorial settlements.
- View Archaeological Sites and Monuments Map
The older villages of the Tees Lowlands, most lying within the Tees Vale, together with historic parklands at Windlestone and Hardwick, are designated as Conservation Areas. Outside of the villages listed buildings and structures – ranging from domestic and agricultural buildings to boundary stones – are rather thinly spread, again, being more concentrated in the Tees Vale.
- View Built Heritage map
There are a small number of historic parklands. Windlestone, Hardwick and Raby are listed on English Heritage‘s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historical Interest.
- View interactive Registered Parks and Gardens Map
Access and Recreation
The footpath network is very variable in its coverage. There are well-developed networks of paths associated with older villages and poorly accessed tracts of land in between, particularly in the flat carr landscapes. There are few strategic recreational routes or long distance trails. The Teesdale way follows the course of the river. The Castle Eden Walkway crosses the plain in the east.
- View Recreation and Tourism Map
Water quality in the River Tees is good and it is used for the abstraction of drinking water. In some of its tributaries, and particularly the River Skerne, quality is only fair or poor as a result of discharges from treatment works, storm sewage overflows and surface water drainage from industrial and agricultural activities. Most of the Tees plain is a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone.
- View Water Resources Map
Agricultural Land Classification
Much of the agricultural land on the Tees plain is Grade 3a (good) or 3b (moderate). There are areas of Grade 2 (very good) in the Tees Vale around Staindrop and Gainford and areas of Grade 4 (poor) on the flat poorly drained land of the Skerne Carrs.
- View Agricultural Land Classification Map