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The Saltmarsh Garden

Council Leader Martin Gannon opens the Saltmarsh GardenThe Saltmarsh Garden was officially opened by Council Leader Martin Gannon on 16 June 2016.

Gateshead Council and Durham Wildlife Trust are being funded by Taylor Wimpey on a 3 year community outreach project which aims to celebrate the Saltmarsh Garden.

For details of family events in August 2017 please visit our Countryside Events page.

You can also take a self guided walk from the Staiths Cafe to the Saltmarsh Garden using the Wildlife walk leaflet (562Kb).

Working with local people and schools, it is hoped to increase the appreciation and care for this rare urban habitat. The project is 2 years through a 3 year project. To find out more about the type of activities taking place download our progress report 'What we did in the Saltmarsh Garden'. (1.9Mb)

The Saltmarsh Garden was created in 1990 as part of the Gateshead Garden Festival site.
Closed for the last 25 years and pending the completion of the Taylor Wimpey Development at Staiths South Bank, the Saltmarsh Garden ownership was transferred to Gateshead Council in 2015.

The Garden was named after the tiny fragment of Saltmarsh which survives there – a reminder of what this area might have looked like at the time when the first horse drawn rail waggonways in the world started transporting coal into Dunston in 1671.

The Ekki Bridge has now been re-opened along the Team Cycleway / Tanfield Railway Path and allows access to the Garden and the top deck of the Staiths during its opening times.

The Saltmarsh Garden contains the main area of this type of habitat remaining in urban Gateshead and is situated on the lowest section of the River Team where it flows out into the Tyne. Over 12 miles from the sea, the existence of a sea-salty saltmarsh habitat here is remarkable and indicates the power and extent of tides on the River Tyne. 

The site has been designated as a Local Wildlife Site and the habitat is representative of 'upper' saltmarsh habitat. Species of note include wild celery, hemlock-water dropwart, scurvy grass, saltmarsh grass, fennel-leaved pondweed and sea clubrush which is a scarse plant in the old County Durham area.

The Garden is also made up of an area of reedbed and young  woodland which was planted as part of the Garden Festival site. Under the woodland there are a range of wildflowers including bluebells which make an impressive display in the spring.

The reedbed, which was planted ironically as part of the Garden Festival, is expanding onto the saltmarsh and threatening the tiny habitat and steps have been taken to try and prevent its expansion.

Saltmarsh Mudflats

Opening the Saltmarsh Garden also saw the opening of the cycleway connections with the Team Colliery Waggonway, the Keelman's Way and the Tanfield Railway Path making the little Garden, one of the north east's most green transport friendly nature reserves.

The Staiths South Bank Development created a pioneering new multi-award winning urban design which built an affordable, contemporary, sociably and environmental sustainable place to live.

The development at South Staiths is complete, and in celebration, Jane Massey - the Lead Architect for IDPartnership - has produced retrospective booklet. The booklet sets out the major design concepts surrounding the development and considers some of the issues, 11 years on. The retrospective is full of excellent pictures of the Staiths and the development. Download the document - 'Staiths South Bank - a retrospective' (8.6Mb).

Dunston Staiths wildlife

The modern history of the Staiths is tied up with the wildlife found on and around the structure. When dredging stopped around the site, the Staiths became economically unviable and the lagoon silted up with mud in the basin behind the Staiths. Like many of the sites in the north east which have an important industrial archaeology, when the industry moves wildlife usually moves in. The mudflats created behind the Scheduled Ancient Monument became a regionally important feeding area for wintering and migrant wading birds. 

saltmarshgardenreedbedKeith Bowey, working with local people, has produced a fascinating guide to natural history of the Staiths 'What Lives at the Staiths' - a copy is on display at the Staiths Cafe.

The restoration of the Staiths itself was completed by the Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust. For more information, visit www.dunstonstaiths.org.uk. The Trust have organised a wide range of events and activities which are included in the list below. For more information contact Kari Vickers kari@twbpt.org.uk

For more information on the Saltmarsh Garden and wildlife and if you would like to volunteer there, email Clare Ross: clareross@gateshead.gov.uk

Visit The Saltmarsh Garden Facebook page

Activities

GSaltmarsh Gardenateshead Volunteer Countryside Rangers
The Volunteer Rangers have carried out 5 task days in the last year.
This includes activities such as litter picking, wildlife habitat management, and creation, bird monitoring and helping with events.
More information about the Gateshead Volunteer Countryside Rangers

School free Environmental Education Projects
Free sessions with Gateshead Schools with Durham Wildlife Trust.
For more information email Kpollard@durhamwt.co.uk or phone 0191 584 3112.
View the education projects flyer 

Health Walks - Team Medical Practice
Walking Group - 10am every Thursday morning
Meet at the Team Medical Practice
About 45 minute walk followed by cuppa and biscuit.
Contact Sue Jennings on 0191 4604239 or email sue.jennings4@nhs.net