Our park is home to all kinds of wildlife, from woodland birds to beautiful flowers. It’s a wonderful, scenic place to take a stroll in the colder months as much as it is throughout the summer. If you’re a lover of nature who enjoys crisp winter walks, take note of the following plants and creatures and see how many you can spot on your next visit!
It’s not uncommon to spy a wealth of woodland birds in the park, including Nuthatches, Robins, an array of Finches and Tits. If you’re lucky, you may even come across a locally scarce Willow Tit. Head to the bird hide behind the museum for your best chance of sightings.
We are lucky to be home to a small population of Goldcrest – the UK’s smallest bird weighing around the same as a 5p coin. Your best chance of seeing these is on the Red Walk along the top path behind the museum.
In around the same area on the Red Walk, you will occasionally see foxes lurking around at dusk. They can be quite fast-moving, so you’ll have to be eagle-eyed to catch them!
Rabbits and Tawny Owls
When you head towards Quarry Wood and into the depths of the remnant quarry, you could spot an abundance of rabbits and, later into the evening, you’ll possibly hear the screeching of a wild Tawny Owl.
Moving from the woods to the water, you may see the electric blue flash of a Kingfisher passing over the riverside path and into a branch over the inlet ponds. There are plenty of aquatic creatures in the river as well as around it if you’re careful enough to spot them!
The River Tees is a vital habitat for wetland birds including our resident swans, ducks and the occasional goosander. Again, you’ll want to wander down by the river to spot these feathered friends.
You may be surprised to learn that we sometimes see wild deer in the park. The best place to see them is on North Field and we’d recommend getting there bright and early to increase your chance of sightings.
Squirrels and Jays
This time of year, when the leaves are browning and falling, is a vital time for squirrels and jays in the park as they cache away nuts for over the winter. You can spot these in woodland areas all around the park.
Conkers and Acorns
As well as being a great time of year to spot squirrels and jays, autumn is a brilliant time for conkering. Head to Quarry Wood, where the trees have turned to autumnal orange and red hues, and look beneath the Horse Chestnut trees to start your collection. You’ll also notice the Oak trees dropping acorns and the Beech trees changing colour.
Foliage for Christmas Wreaths
Throughout November, the park is foraged for fresh foliage for the Christmas wreaths which hang from the doors along the Victorian Street during December. These wreaths are made up of Holly, Laurel, Laburnum and Dog Wood, giving them a striking flash of red against the festive green.
In June, some hedgehogs were released into the park. They’ll shortly be tucking themselves up for winter and going into hibernation, but do keep your eyes out for them over the coming weeks! We’d recommend checking your own garden debris and bonfire materials at this time of year before burning or removing it, as you may just find a hedgehog nestled up in there for winter.
New Year Flowers
When we reach the New Year, it’s not unusual to see beautiful snowdrops poking out through the leaf litter. These are shortly followed by crocuses, wild pansies and common dog-violet. If you love flowers, the park has plenty to offer throughout the winter months.
Want to know more about our lovely park and its inhabitants? Don’t hesitate to speak to a team member on your next visit. We would love to chat!