Cowpen Marsh comprises a large tract of grazed pasture intersected by freshwater
channels, lying west of the A178 Tees Road. Due to extensive tipping, it is not
as productive as it once was but is always worth a look, particularly Holme and
Swallow Fleets. A variety of wildfowl breeds and Common Terns nest on the artificial
rafts at Holme Fleet. Rare or scarce species recorded at this site include Lesser
Yellowlegs, Corncrake, Red-footed Falcon and Montagu’s Harrier, to name but a few.
Access to Cowpen Marsh is via the small grass parking area at Holme Fleet, adjacent
to the A178 about half a mile south of Greatham Creek, care being taken not to block
the gateway. Walking on the marsh is not advised during the breeding season as it
contains many ground-nesting birds.