“A popular riverside park in the heart of Chester-le-Street“.
Well maintained paths allow visitors to easily navigate from the town centre to the nearby riverside habitats. The River Wear flows east, through the city of Sunderland and into the North Sea. There are a selection of benches adjacent to the river and areas of grassland, which are perfect for picnics. On-site toilets and a small kiosk cafe are also present adjacent to a large car park, for those that wish to park closer to the riverside itself.
During the spring and summer months House & Sand Martins, Swallows and Swifts race past, often coming quite close. For many this is a highlight and certainly one of the best sites to view these slender birds at close range. Warblers can be heard singing as the warmer weather brings the park to life. A local colony of Mute Swans and Mallards are present daily. Moorhens, and if your very lucky a Water Rail can be seen; whilst in the winter months, over half a dozen Goosanders can easily be found diving for fish.
Jackdaws remain very loyal to this site, with Carrions Crows and a good selection of Gulls, which love to bath in the freshwater. This can include Black-headed, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Common Gulls are present at times, but not regularly. The surrounding habitat includes woodland and grassland which can attract a variety of passerines.
Grey Herons and Cormorants love to spend time feeding in the freshwater and you are almost guaranteed to see one, whilst Common Terns regularly visit in the spring and summer.
One of the benefits of this beautiful riverside habitat is how close the wildlife can be experienced, so this is a particularly good site for outdoor photography especially on sunny days, even when the park is busy.
Other species to watch out for include Dippers, Grey Wagtails and Kingfishers, which are common riverside species, that always promise to brighten up your day. The riverside park at Chester le Street, is certainly a great location for a family day out and a relaxing walk; but it can also be a valuable stopping off point for seasonal migrants passing through. Other sites in this important wildlife corridor include the nearby WWT Washington and the Herrington Country Park to the east.
There are regular signs of Mole activity, with small hills dotted around the fringes of the riverside. Butterflies, Damselflies and Dragonflies and a wide selection of bees and ladybirds, flock to the wildflowers and shrubs that grow throughout the park. Some years Giant Hogweed is common, especially as you travel deeper into the riverside habitat, which can be poisonous. It is advised to avoid any contact with this plant as it can cause burns and blisters. Fortunately, it usually grows right against the river, in areas which are less accessible.
There is a paved path, which runs both to and alongside the habitats adjacent to the River Wear. Woodland and grassland surround the freshwater river, whilst nearby facilities such as a play park and cricket ground are positioned nearby. There is access for Wheelchairs and cyclists.
There is an extensive range of shops and facilities available in the nearby town centre. A car park adjacent to the riverside itself, hosts a set of toilets and a kiosk cafe during daytimes.