Rainton meadows

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Rainton meadows and Joe's Pond
Short-eared owl is a regular winter visitor to rainton meadows

Short-eared owl is a regular winter visitor to rainton meadows

Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre is situated adjacent to Rainton Bridge Industrial Estate in Houghton-le-Spring and is Durham Wildlife Trust's headquarters.The Visitor Centre offers a shop, café, informative displays, a classroom, conference room and a viewing station where visitors can spend time watching birds feeding in the winter months. There is also a Wildlife Garden with spring and summer meadows and examples of what can be done to attract wildlife to your own garden. The Nature Reserve is a haven for wildlife and has a variety of habitats including grassland, scrub, mature woodland and ponds. Mute swan, skylark, short-eared owl, brown hare, lapwing and many types of wildfowl are regularly seen at the site. Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve has developed as a result of the restoration of the former Rye Hill Opencast coal mine by UK Coal Ltd in partnership with Durham Wildlife Trust and the City of Sunderland. Restoration has created an interlinked series of ponds and scrapes, newly re-seeded grasslands and a larger area of new woodland all linked by an extensive footpath network.
Within Rainton Meadows is a 4 hectare Site of Specific Scientific Interest known as Joe's Pond. A haven for bird watching, the hawthorn and willow scrub surrounding the Pond provides shelter for over 140 species of birds. Fox and roe deer can also be seen around the Pond.

Rainton Meadows and Joe's Pond can be found by following the brown signs from the A690 between Durham and Sunderland. By bus, the services 222 and 220 regularly leave Park Lane in Sunderland, or the bus station in Durham and set down at the nearby Mill Inn. There's a short walk under the A690 continuing until you reach the last roundabout of the industrial estate. The entrance to the Reserve is called Mallard Way.

(above) Short-eared owl : from 'The Handbook of Bird Identication' for Europe and the Western Palearctic. Mark Beaman and Steve Madge.See identication guides.

Click here for a Pdf download for the reserve.Adobe reader needed.

Where to watch Birds in North East England
The essential guide to finding birds in North-east England.
The 2nd edition of this popular guide to the best birding sites in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Durham and Cleveland.
Fully revised and updated, with several important new sites added.
Practical information on habitat, access to reserves, the best times to visit and which species occur in each season.
Maps and line drawings.416 pages. Click here for ordering details...
Where to watch Birds in North East England
Recent bird photographs from Rainton Meadows
Birding Video from Rainton Meadows
Rainton Meadows twitter
Rainton Meadows Local Patch & Blogs
Rainton Meadows Local Services
Birding Walks around Rainton Meadows

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