East Sanday Coast SPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site is on the island of Sanday in the Orkney Islands of northern Scotland. The site is made up of 55 km of coast. The coastline supports internationally important populations of wintering waders. 

MPA Type

Special Protection Area

Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are strictly protected sites designated uner European legislation. They are established to protect rare and vulnerable birds and for regularly occurring migratory species.

Designation date

1 August 1997

Surface Area

15.09 km2 (5.83 mi.2)


187.57 km (116.55 mi.)

  • Ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

    A small shore bird whose name refers to its habit of creeping and fluttering over rocks, picking out food from under stones.

  • Purple sandpiper (Calidris maritima)

    A medium-sized wading bird. While they are mainly just winter visitors to the UK there are a couple of breeding pairs. The breeding areas in Scotland are kept secret to protect the birds from egg thieves and disturbance. 

  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins)
  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes

Did you know?…

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’

Over 170 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed up to our Marine Charter calling for a network of ‘marine protected areas’ in UK Seas