RSPB Big Birdwatch 25 – 27th January 2020

Why not join us at Clara Vale Nature Reserve this Saturday 25th January, when once again the Conservation Group are supporting this national event . You can help us to identify and count the birds we see for one hour between 10:30 and 11:30am.


You don’t need to be an expert, or even count the birds yourself.  There will be keen birdwatchers to help you identify the species of birds that visit the reserve. Both the Alex West and Woodland hides will be open, and we will have free loan binoculars to use.

There will be free refreshments (and no doubt some irresistible cake), plus a couple of free children’s activities too.

We don’t make any charges for this volunteer-run event, however any donations are welcome and all go to the upkeep of the Reserve and bird sanctuary.


Join us for a Bat Walk !

Tuesday 3rd September 7.45pm

Come and learn about the wonderful world of bats!  Discover which species are living around Clara Vale with regional bat experts Peter Shield (Ecologist Gateshead Council) and Clare Rawcliffe (Ecologist South Tyneside Council), both are members of the Durham  Bat Group. They will be bringing their bat detectors along for an evening stroll around the nature reserve and  countryside surrounding the village.

Find out more about bats in Gateshead

Meet at Clara Vale Village Hall at 7.45pm. All welcome.  Please note that in the event of bad weather this walk may need to be cancelled at short notice.

Found Sound: Special Event 30th March 2019

Clara Vale is fortunate to currently have an artist in residence.  Helen Collard is spending time here,  supported by Monfish Production and Arts Council England, working on a project about creating art in non-arts spaces to make site-specific and site responsive work.

Found Sound is a new sound piece inspired by Clara Vale, the village and its people. Experience the soundscape of the familiar: the hidden and some imagined sounds of Clara Vale in the unique, intimate setting of the Alex West hide in the Nature Reserve, including the dawn chorus, Barbaras bees, pond life, electromagnetic fields and electric currents from plant life, all of which are combined with human voice and piano to make a special piece unique to Clara Vale.

The Alex West bird hide is small and quiet evening setting, and there are four slot times for the perfomance on 30th March, meet at the Village Hall, 6:10pm (sold out), 6:50pm, 7:30pm, 8:10pm.

Please meet at the village hall 20 minutes before your allocated time to register your arrival for the event.  Refreshments will be served!

Tickets are already on sale and booking is essential, click here.

Please wear warm, comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for walking on muddy or uneven paths.  All children and young people under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.


RSPB Big Birdwatch 2019 – Results

There was a great turnout for our mini-event in support of the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, with more than 20 children from Clara Vale and Crawcrook, along with their families, joining us in the nature reserve.  Everyone made a bird feeder and got a spotter sheet to take home, entice the birds and count them in their own gardens. Click any image below to enlarge:

We had a good session counting the maximum of any one species in during one hour from both the Reserve hides and we made sure we didn’t double-count!


Mallard – 10
Blue Tit – 7
Great Tit – 5
Coal Tit 2
Long Tailed Tit – 3
Willow Tit – 1
Jackdaw – 1
Bullfinch – 2
Jay – 2
Blackbird – 13
Robin – 4
Tree Sparrow – 8
Chaffinch – 6
Dunnock – 1
Moorhen – 4
Yellowhammer – 10
Magpie – 2
Pheasant – 1
Stock Dove – 5
Brambling – 1

We were also very grateful for the donations we received, all of which will go towards the upkeep of the Reserve, thank you!

RSPB Big Birdwatch 26 – 28th January

Once again the Conservation Group are supporting this national event and invite you to join us this coming weekend on Saturday 26th January in the Clara Vale Nature Reserve, when we identify and count the birds we see for one hour between 10:30 and 11:30am.

There will be free refreshments (and no doubt some irresistible cake), plus a couple of free childrens’ activities too.

You don’t have to count the birds yourself and there will be one or two keen birdwatchers on hand to help you identify the birds you see – both the Alex West and Woodland hides will be available and we’ll have free loan binoculars to use.

We don’t make any charges for this volunteer-run event, however any donations are welcome and all go to the upkeep of the Reserve and bird sanctuary.





Bird Ringing

The Conservation Group is pleased to announce that the Northumbria Bird Ringing Group will be visiting the Reserve on the first Saturday of each month from November 2018  until April 2019 inclusive. They will be catching birds in both feeding stations but will be ringing the birds in the Woodland hide.

They will be ringing from 8 a.m. until around noon, please note that the Alex West hide will be closed during these times. 

This is important scientific work which helps us understand, for example, how populations of birds change, their migration patterns, breeding success or failure. If you want to find out more and see birds very close up, go along to the Woodland hide and talk to the ringers, you will be very welcome. 

The first ringing session will be on Saturday, November 3 rd . If it is raining or very windy the session may not take place.

For more information on bird ringing, visit The British Trust for Ornithology

 Yellowhammer ringed in Clara Vale

A Yellowhammer ringed in Clara Vale

Special Family Entertainment Event: Gone Cuckoo 24th May 2018

The Clara Vale Conservation Group are delighted to present father and son duo Malcolm and Joshua Green, who bring their delightful and thought provoking tour performance to Clara Vale. Collaborating together with music and stories Malcolm and Joshua tell the Cuckoo’s tale of a fascinating journey across Europe, the Sahara and subtropical Africa.

Click here for full information and ticket options for this one-off family entertainment evening.

Gone Cuckoo family entertainment event at Clara Vale Village Hall 24th May 2018



Big Garden Birdwatch 2018 – Result and pictures

We were delighted with the turnout for this community event in the nature reserve on Sunday 28th January.

Conservation Group members set up a stall in the Reserve, offering free refreshments, cake and biscuits, which seemed to be a good incentive for visitors to come and take part in observing the birds in the reserve at both the hides.  There was a steady stream of families, and children enjoyed making their own bird feeders using very sticky lard and peanut butter, mmmm…. (see images below).  There was some storytelling too.

Despite the blustery conditions, there was a good bird count, the highlight being a group of 11 Yellowhammers who swooped down to feed in front of the Woodland hide.

Full results for the RSPB one hour bird count are below and have been submitted to their database. But first, take a look at a few of the images from a super community morning gathering, click on any image to enlarge and scroll:



Final count for the Big Garden Birdwatch, Clara Vale Nature Reserve:

Tree sparrow – 15
Blue tit – 5
Great tit – 3
Long tailed tit – 1
Coal tit – 1
Robin – 3
Blackbird 2
Bullfinch – 2
Chaffinch – 6
Pheasant – 6
Mallard – 7
Nuthatch – 2
Magpie – 1
Moorhen – 3
Kingfisher – 1
Yellowhammer – 11
Wren – 1
Dunnock – 2

These are combined for the 2 hides with the maximum numbers taken  so we’ve not double counted.   Also 3 roe deer seen.

We’d also like to thank those people who donated a total of £16.60 to our funds.