© Brian Copland
The Beltingham reserve contains a small area of grassland which has been influenced by heavy metal pollution in the past. This grassland contains metallophyte (metal loving) species, uncommon elsewhere in the region, such as alpine penny-cress, spring sandwort and mountain pansy.
The rest of the reserve contains a mix of woodland and scrub where spikes of dune helleborine are found. In recent times, Himalayan balsam has started to dominate areas along the banks of the Tyne. This is being removed to encourage native vegetation and to prevent bank erosion. Dame's violet has also become a problem and threatens the area favoured by the helleborines.