East Chevington is the last reserve on Druridge Bay that I came across, being neatly tucked away either beside Druridge Bay County Park or down a dead-end track depending which way you choose to access it (the latter offers free parking unlike the former!)
Getting There :
Off the A1068 road there are two prime parking locations :
- either follow the well signposted road to Druridge Bay country park but after following the road downhill towards the visitor centre take the right hand turn signed for coach parking – there is plenty of car parking as well. This is a pay and display car park which is handy for the country park as well as East Chevington
- south of the turn for Druridge Bay CP there is an unmarked turnoff which is signed as a dead end (which it is). Follow this single-track road round several sweeps left and right and then down a long straight. There is room to pull off to the side of the road at several points and there is a turning circle at the botttom of the track,
The Site :
East Chevington is a site of two mining subsidence lakes inland of well established dunes which offer protection from the winds off the north sea. The main (north) lake is home lots of terns, gulls and ducks, while the south lake is heavily bordered by reeds and is a prime spot for Marsh Harrier in the region. Between the lakes and the beach, scrubby land with reeds, rushes and bushes of hawthorn and gorse that provide great habitat for warblers, buntings and assorted passerines.
I’ve not visited Hides 1 or 2 on the map below but Hide 3 give a great view over the scrapes and islands favoured by gulls, ducks and cormorants. Hide 4 gives views over the area where many terns and gulls seem to enjoy hanging out, but in my opinion Hide 5 is the pick of the lot. This has clear views of prime perches for terns and gulls which are hidden from Hide 4.
Note that Hides 1-4 are accessed from the path running south from the car park at Druridge Bay Country Park, however Hide 5 is best accessed from the unsigned path dsecribed above as a stream divides it from the rest of the reserve except from a footbridge some way past Hide 4.
Also along the unsigned track are three platforms which afford views over the south pool – in my experience the best place to see Marsh Harriers in the area. From these viewpoints the lake seems long and thin and only part of the lake is visible. A private hide for the Wildlife Trusts is adjacent to the first viewing platform and this seems to be the best location for seeking the harriers, with the trees and reedbeds opposite the platform being a favoured location. A gate marked on the above map also gives good views of the fenceposts which are a favoured perch of the harriers.