January always feels like a long month, some of us may have been paid earlier in December, overspent and over indulged! With that in mind I’m always on the look out for cheap or free place’s to visit this month.
Rspb Saltholme is usually only £5 per car visiting so pretty good value for money, but this January it’s free and to make things even better the Yarn Bombers have struck here too. Bringing their colourful knitted delights to Saltholme in January is perfect, things can look a little bleak in winter but the colourful displays bring a simple kind of joy to all ages looking at them.
They also had a great play park which the girls spotted as soon as we arrived from the car park. With a good mixture of equipment that I struggled to get the girls to leave.
They have so much to explore we stayed for around 3 hours and didn’t even get to see it all there is lots to see across the wetlands site. The girls got a bingo sheet from the ladies at reception to try spot a few of the different Yarn bombers creations as we walked around the lake. There are 5 different trails you can explore we only did the lake walk on this visit, which the walkway was made of crushed stone so pushchair and wheelchair friendly.
Younger ones will easily recognise many of the knitted creations with Room on The Broom, The Gruffalo, Wind in The Willows, Beatrix Potter and even some of the Super Mario gang making an appearance as you explore.
I was also impressed with the range of carved wooden creations as you walk around, always a big hit with the kids for a photo opportunity and to admire! I always find it helps keep the kids going too on a walk, what will we find next, kind of thing.
The Alice in Wonderland table is stunning and a huge hit with my two they loved it. Not much further around, you have a great area for pond dipping as well as a discovery area which my two couldn’t run towards fast enough! They love things like this, making damns exploring how the water runs along the course. Any place we go to that has water the kids can play with us alway a hit. Be mindful of course it is pond water so the kids need to wash hands afterwards and not be splashing each other with it, easier said than done I know.
We looked in the hides as we walked around, all which I noticed are wheelchair friendly with automated doors (press here style) , with folders in them all for you to browse and do a little wildlife spotting. This is great for the kids the folders are set out in a simple easy to find and read format. We also had a lovely man from Saltholme staff talk to us and help point out a few of the different ducks, listening to the whistle of the widgeon and spotted a mute swan, he was also telling us what other wildlife has been spotted lately on the reserve.
I will be heading back over the seasons to see the changes, I also spotted on the way out you can borrow a little explorers pack for just a few pounds and pond dipping kits something we look forward to going back and enjoying. Even without doing those we had a great visit, there was plenty to see and enjoy. We even got to see some starlings performing beautiful Ariel ballet as we where leaving.
As we left I decided to drive along to the newly opened parking and viewing area at Greatham Creek close to the seal spotting point. We were lucky enough to spot a few seals (video below) and enjoyed seeing the sky changing as we headed back to the car.
RSPB Saltholme address is Seaton Carew Rd, Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesbrough TS2 1TP, UK.
Saltholme is just 10 minutes from the A19. Turn East off the A19 north of Stockton along the A689. After half a mile, take the A1185; in 4 miles join the A178 at a mini roundabout and take the 3rd exit. The reserve entrance is 250 metres on the right-hand side.
RSPB Saltholme website can be found here.
They also have a Facebook page here.
A photo of the map we picked up in the centre when we arrived to help us navigate the site.
I do hope you enjoy your visit and let me know what you manage to spot whilst visiting.
Whilst in Teeside area you may want to take a look at the Dinosaurs at Teessaurus Park! https://thefreckledmumof2.co.uk/go-see-the-dinosaurs-at-teessaurus-park/
Or visit the Victorian Sweet Shop at Preston Park Museum and Grounds