The reservoir at Scaling Dam, constructed in 1958, lies in the extreme south of
Cleveland and, with an area of 42 ha (105 acres), it is the largest freshwater body
in our area. It lies adjacent to the busy A171 Guisborough-Whitby road and is bordered
to the south and east by open, high moorland. Although still owned by Northumbrian
Water, the reservoir is no longer used for water extraction and is now managed by
the Scaling Dam Wildlife Advisory Group (SDWAG) for nature conservation and recreation
(including birdwatching, angling and sailing). In 2003, the new Fishing Lodge and
Visitor Centre were opened, where there are toilets, hot and cold drinks, sale of
tackle and confectionary and a fishing jetty. Water level management in recent years
by the SDWAG has resulted in a significant increase in the number of birds using
the reservoir, particularly waders. There is a spacious hide overlooking the western
part of the reservoir, which is a designated nature reserve.
The reservoir is shallow, having only a maximum depth of 9m (30’), which makes it
very attractive to both dabbling and diving ducks, including Mallard, Teal, Tufted
Duck, Goldeneye and Wigeon. It occasionally attracts less common wildfowl, such
as Goosander and Common Scoter and the rarer grebes, including Slavonian, Red-necked
and Black-necked. Waders are often present in spring and autumn, including Ruff,
Common and Green Sandpipers, Snipe, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Little Ringed Plover.
Scaling Dam can also be an excellent place to watch raptors and, from the hide,
an eye should always be kept on the moorland plateau and valleys for Hen Harrier,
Marsh Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine, Common Buzzard and, if you are extremely lucky,
Red Kite or Rough-legged Buzzard. The site is also good for smaller birds, notably
Willow Tit and Bullfinch, which can occasionally be seen on the bird feeders installed
Access to Scaling Dam is via the A171 Guisborough Whitby road, immediately before
‘The Grapes’ pub. Park in the car park and follow the footpath down to the hide.
Please remember to enter all your relevant sightings into the logbook, which is
kept near the door in the hide.
MAP OF SCALING DAM
SCALING DAM FROM HIDE
SCALING DAM FROM HIDE