Welcome to Hummersea Nature Reserve

Hummersea supports over a thousand plants and is the largest “colony” in our area. They grow well here because the sloping tops to the rock cliffs are dotted with wet springs giving broad patches of damp heavy-clay soil. Also important to their survival are the mini-landslides which expose new bare wet soil on which the fine, wind-blown seeds can germinate. With no competition from surrounding vegetation they thrive.

Facilities & Accessibility


FREE parking is available at Skinningrove near Cattersty Sands (turn left at the intersection of Cliff Terrace and Marine Terrace, the car park is right on the coast). The reserve is about half a mile south-east, along the Cleveland Way.



Unfortunately, there are no toilets available on site.


Unfortunately, this reserve can only be reached on foot. There used to be access down to the beach, but this is no longer the case and anyone decending through the reserve does so at their own risk. Maritime slopes like this can be unsafe and liable to landslippage.

Dog Bins:

There are no dog waste bins on the reserve. KEEP DOGS ON A LEAD – CLEAR UP AFTER YOUR ANIMALS – DON’T DISTURB THE WILDLIFE. Thank you!


The reserve itself is steeply sloping before ending in a high cliff edge. There is currently no access to the beach and we encourage visitors to view the reserve from the Cleveland Way.


Currently there is no access through the reserve to the beach below. Visitors should remain on the Cleveland Way.

More info

Hummersea is a stunning stretch of coast just to the north of Loftus. This nature reserve was a generous bequest from Angela Cooper MBE, a founder member of the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust who made a massive contribution to its early work and development. She served as a trustee and on the Conservation and Education Committees for many years. In 1997, she was awarded the Christopher Cadbury Medal for services for the advancement of nature conservation in the British Islands.

The site includes a wide swathe of coastal slope, rich in wildflowers such as fragrant and pyramidal orchids and spiny restharrow. High cliff faces support nesting seabirds in spring and summer. A small area of shingle beach at the foot of the cliff lies above mean-high water; this is part of the property and at low tide it leads onto a wider expanse of wave-cut platform and rocky shore.

Towards the bottom of the reserve, the last remains of an alum house can be seen embedded in the cliff. The production of alum was unique to East Cleveland and shaped its landscape and industrial history. The Hummersea alum house was part of the Loftus Alum Works, which were one of the most successful in the area and operated from 1655 to 1863.

Another feature of the nature reserve is grass-of-Parnassus; one of our most elegant wildflowers. Producing a single pristine white flower with five petals between June and September, it isn’t actually a grass, but gets its name from the translucent green stripes that adorn each white petal. It is a small plant with a tuft of smooth heart-shaped leaves and those at Hummersea grow to a height of around 10 to 15cm, although it can reach up to twice that height!

Nearby Nature Reserves

Photo of common spotted orchid on the grassy slopes at Hunt Cliff. The beach at Saltburn is visible in the background.

Hunt Cliff

(3 miles by foot)

A photo of Saltburn Gill. Taken from low down near the relatively calm waters. Rocks have built up against the bank on the left hand side of the image. A geological outcrop is visible to the right side of the stream. The water is orange from iron discharge. There is a lot of green on the river banks from ferns, ramsons, hazel and ash trees.

Saltburn Gill SSSI

(5.5 miles by car)

A view over the small valley that shelters Cattersty Gill from the harsh coastal climate. Green grassland is visible to the right and flowering hawthorn to the left. Distant misty cliffs along the coast are visible in the background.

Cattersty Gill

(1.5 miles by foot)