Cresswell Pond is one of the counties flagship nature reserves, and is well visited throughout the year. The pond is situated alongside the southern section of Druridge Bay and it runs close to the sea and is connected in places; so experiences tidal changes. The site consists of a large blackish lagoon, which is skirted by reed beds and farmland with some woodland in places. The site is managed by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust
There is a spacious hide, which is accessible to the public at the western side of the reserve, which provides great views of the pond all year round. As this site is pretty exposed, it can be quite windy at times, however the provision of glass shutters in the bird hide help protect visitors from the elements.
Visitors can park at the beginning of the track to Blakemoor Farm, however are asked not to park beyond the gate or to block the entrance, as it’s important to allow space for farm vehicle’s to pass through safely. As you travel alongside the track towards the farm and make your way to the bird hide, visitors are welcomed usually by Tree Sparrows, and a selection of finches and woodland birds. Golden Plovers and Curlews can at times be seen in the adjacent fields.
A Grey Heron
There is also a free car park to the east of the reserve close to the dunes and a small group of Willow Trees. A Great Reed Warbler spent some time in these Willows in 2014, stopping off to enjoy the reserve. Nearby Stonechats can often be spotted easily and the sea and the beautiful beaches of Druridge Bay are only a five minute walk across the sand dunes.
Cresswell Pond is particularly good for visiting waders and wildfowl, especially in the autumn/winter and has attracted a great number of rarities over the years. The northern expansion of birds such as Little Egret and Avocet has brought these elegant birds to visit, and they sometimes can be found spending time with the local Grey Herons, and a wide selection of waders. Waders during the autumn can include Common, Green, Wood and Curlew Sandpipers, Ruff, Redshank, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank, Ringed, Golden and at times Grey Plover, Curlew and Whimbrel, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits and much more….
Over recent years the site has also been popular at times with Mediterranean and Little Gulls, stopping off for a rest alongside the waters edge.
Recent highlights have included Stilt Sandpiper in 2014 which was also recorded at Druridge Pools; Turtle Dove, Long Billed Dowitcher 2015-2016. Great White Egret and Spoonbill have been recorded visiting for the past few years. In 1992 a Pied-billed Grebe came to visit which was a major highlight at the time.
It is always a good idea to watch out for Water Rails, especially alongside the right hand side, as at times, they can show very well. Other key species to watch out for during the spring/summer include Cuckoo, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Wheatear, Whinchat and Yellow Wagtail; whilst in the winter, Long-tailed Ducks, Scaup and Whooper Swans can come to visit or Jack Snipe can be seen on the mud in front the bird hide if you are very lucky.
NZ 284 944
The reserve is suitable for accompanied wheelchairs.
A downloadable access sheet is available from the NWT website at www.nwt.org.uk
There is a unlocked hide available which is accessible to the public.
Visitors can park at the beginning of the track to Blakemoor Farm and then walk along the track.
More information is available from the NWT website at www.nwt.org.uk