Maze Park Local Nature Reserve
Maze Park is located opposite Portrack Marsh on the south bank of the River Tees and is a regenerated former railway marshalling yard managed by the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust.
Maze Park is a green oasis right at the centre of the Teesside, visitors can climb one of its landscaped mounds to enjoy panoramic views of the conurbation. Much of the site has been planted with a variety of broad-leaved trees and is rapidly forming a good area of woodland for such a central urban location. As well as planting 6 hectares of woodland, the Trust constructed a network of surfaced paths and boardwalks to allow visitors to enjoy every part of the site.
Three conical mounds have interesting vegetation communities and give great views of the Tees and surrounding area. The central mound is flat-topped and its plateau consists of the characteristic steelworks slag materials, its nearest natural equivalent would be chalk grasslands or base-rich sand dunes systems. Typically they contain an abundance of herb species including Yellow Wort, Black Medick, Common Centaury and Bird’s-foot Trefoil.
Much of the reserve is managed as grassland for the 17 species of butterflies that occur here. The Grayling and the Dingy Skipper, whilst not the most colourful butterflies, are amongst the country’s rarest, and occur in profusion here.
Maze Park is also a good place from which to watch the River Tees, the steep river banks provide nesting habitat for a small colony of Sand Martins and give excellent views of Common and Grey Seals which prey on Salmon preparing to negotiate a passage through the Tees.
Park in Portrack Marsh car park and walk back across the Tees Barrage, then turn left along the riverside footpath towards Middlesbrough. This path leads you to the reserve.