Clara Vale – Gateshead

Birdwatching Sites Clara Vale – Gateshead

Home to a legendary KING fisher!

As you explore beyond the confines of urban Gateshead and Newcastle, and wander into the more rural landscapes, past Blaydon and Crawcrook, you can find a sheltered small reserve in the town of Clara Vale.  Here you can experience woodland birds such as Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and Nuthatch in an environment that is both peaceful and calm.

There are a few small freshwater ponds, which are home to a very loyal and reliable Kingfisher, which is one of the most photographed in the county.  Two small bird hides have been provided on-site. One overlooks one of the ponds, whilst the other a patch of woodland.  Both are popular with wildlife photographers; especially in the winter months when the feeders are full.  Woodland birds such as Blue, Coal, Great & Willow Tits, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin and Wrens are recorded.  Less common species such as Brambling and Redpoll can come to visit in the winter months.

A Grey Heron

Grey Herons can easily be found either feeding in the freshwater areas or asleep dreaming of their next big fish. The site became a protected local nature reserve in 1995 and is managed by the Clara Vale conservation group.  Frogs, Toads and Newts maybe found during the spring, whilst butterflies and dragonflies are in the skies during the summer months.

The reserve is in need of some restoration and more pro-active maintenance.  Left to itself, especially at this time of climate change, nature overgrows, and water is quickly soaked up.  This has happened as of Summer 2022, with the woodland hide barely accessible, and some of the freshwater that was present has now gone.  The second hide is hidden between a gap in some trees, which certainly does not encourage others to enjoy or experience this wildlife oasis.  Council budget cuts, have significantly reduced spending on such reserves, which are not only great for wildlife but for health and well-being for those that choose to engage with the outdoors.

Finding the hides, can be like a treasure hunt, with some visitors finding themselves wandering around, looking for them.  Lack of appropriate signage, directing visitors to the hides, could be reducing visitors at this time.

As this reserve is so close to the River Tyne and relatively undisturbed, there is a lot of potential to enhance this reserve both for wildlife and visitors.  There is an opportunity to enhance the woodland and freshwater habitats to encourage a larger range of wildlife to visit and call it their home.


Gateshead, Tyne & Wear.


  • Woodland
  • Grassland
  • Freshwater


Visitors can access the reserve from the Wylam train station, which is only a short walk away or from Clara Vale village.


There are two locked hides.


There is free car parking nearby.

Additional Information

Further information can be found on the Gateshead Council Website