Cattersty Gill is a secluded valley perched high on the cliffs above Skinningrove. The nature reserve protects wildflower-rich grassland and is noted as a landfall for migrant birds which stop to rest and refuel among its hawthorn bushes.
This little valley was once used as a tip for slag waste from a nearby iron works. After some initial reclamation works in the 1970’s, natural re-colonisation resulted in a community of plants which can tolerate the lime-rich soil conditions. Each spring and summer the grassland is filled with the colour and scent of kidney vetch, pyramidal and common-spotted orchid, centaury and yellow wort.
The western side of the reserve has a dense covering of hawthorn scrub and this provides food and shelter for migrating birds making their first landfall after crossing the North Sea.
The nature reserve lies to the south of Skinningrove, just inland from Cattersty Sands. It offers an interesting diversion from the Cleveland Way, and is particularly enjoyable for walkers seeking shelter from an offshore wind.