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The Tees is a river in Northern England. It rises on the eastern slope of Cross Fellmarker in the Pennines, and flows eastwards for about 85 miles (137 km) to reach the North Seamarker between Hartlepoolmarker and Redcarmarker. It drains an area of 708 square miles (1834 square km) and subsumes no important tributaries. Before the reorganization of the historic English counties, the river formed the boundary between County Durham and Yorkshiremarker. In its lower reaches it now forms the boundary between the ceremonial counties of County Durham and North Yorkshire, while in the highest part of its course it forms the boundary between the historic counties of Westmorlandmarker and Durham. The head of the valley, whose upper portion is known as Teesdalemarker, has a desolate grandeur, surrounded by hills, some exceeding 2500 feet (762 m), and bleak moorland. This area is part of the North Pennine Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, recently designated a geological Europark, the first in the UK.

A succession of falls or rapids, where the river traverses a series of hard black basalt rocks, is called "Cauldron Snoutmarker". From immediately below this to its mouth, the Tees forms the boundary between the traditional counties of Durham and Yorkshiremarker almost without a break, although since 1974 much of it lies wholly in Durham. The dale becomes bolder below Cauldron Snout, and trees appear, contrasting with the broken rocks where the water dashes over High Forcemarker.

The scenery becomes gentler and more picturesque as it descends past Middleton-in-Teesdalemarker (Durham). This locality has lead and ironstone resources. The ancient town of Barnard Castlemarker, Egglestone Abbeymarker, and Rokeby Hall, well known through Sir Walter Scott's poem, are each passed; and then the valley begins to open out, and traverses the rich plain east and south of Darlingtonmarker in sweeping curves.

The course of the valley down to here has been generally east south east, but it now turns northeast and, nearing the sea, becomes an important commercial waterway, with the ports of Stockton-on-Teesmarker and Middlesbroughmarker on its banks. It passes through the Tees Barragemarker between these ports, turning tidal downstream from the barrage.

Teesportmarker is built on reclaimed land on the south side of the Tees estuary below Middlesbrough.

The River Tees was featured in the television series Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the North, and in the post-apocalyptic drama The Last Train having blown its banks.

Seal Sands

Before the heavy pollution of the Tees by industry, the flats at Seal Sands in the estuary were home to Common Seals and Grey Seals. For around 10 years these species were absent from the estuary due to pollution. But recently water quality has improved dramatically, and the seals can once again be seen in the estuary and on the flats at Seal Sandsmarker. The Seal Sands area is now designated as the Teesmouth National Nature Reserve.

Alterations

In the early 1800s the river was straightened, thus saving money and time in navigation. Between Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough the river previously meandered first south and then north of its current channel. Two "cuts", known as the Mandale Cut and the Portrack Cut were made to straighten its course. Before these cuts were made, the journey by sailing barge from Thornaby to Middlesbrough, allowing for tides and other factors, could take as long as the journey from the mouth of the Tees to London. The Mandale Cut was the shorter of the two, at about 200m, with the Portrack Cut being considerably longer, although the northern meander it removed was smaller than the southern meander. Neither meander is visible today, except for the flow of Stainsby Beck into a waterway which is marked on maps first as "The Fleet" and then "Old River Tees". The current Tees Barragemarker is close to the site of the Mandale Cut.

Since the cuts were made, the river has continued to undergo alterations to make it deeper and more navigable. The channel has been made considerably narrower by dumping ship's ballast and ironworks slag along the former banks, increasing the scouring due to its natural flow. Maps made prior to 1900 show that between Stockton and Middlesbrough the river flowed in a channel up to 300 m (330 yds) wide in places, with many shoals and sandbars. The modern channel varies between 100 and 200 m or even a bit more.

Legends and folklore

Peg Powler is a hag in English folklore who is said to inhabit the River Tees.

Gallery

Image:A19_Tees_Viaduct_rom_Maze_Park_viewing_hill-2-1088.jpg|The River Tees (Portrack Cut) passing through the Green-Blue Heart of the Tees Corridor between Middlesbroughmarker and Stockton District

See also



References

  1. "BBC Where I Live" - BBC. Retrieved 2 March 2007.
  2. "Natures World" Natures World Tees Feature
  3. The History of the River Tees in Maps, 3rd. Ed. (2001), D.W. Pattenden, published by Cleveland and Teesside Local History Society ISBN 095071996X


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