North Norfolk Coast SPA

Status: Designated

Description

Site overview

This site makes up much of the northern coastline of Norfolk in eastern England. It is a low-lying coast that extends for 40 km from Holme to Weybourne. The site is made up of sand- and mud-flats, saltmarshes, shingle and sand dunes, reedbeds, and some of the best examples of saltmarsh in Europe.  In summer, the site is home to large breeding populations of waders, four species of tern, bitterns and wetland raptors, such as marsh harriers. In winter, the area is used by large numbers of geese, sea-ducks, other ducks and 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 January 1989

Surface Area

78.61 km2 (30.35 mi.2)

Perimeter

149.26 km (92.75 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

52° 58' 20" North, 0° 49' 2" East

  • Little tern (Sterna albifrons)

    This bird is one of the smallest of its species. Breeding colonies are located on beaches nearby shallow, sheltered waters which offer good foraging for small fish and invertebrates.

  • Eurasian wigeon (Anas penelope)

    Sites in the UK are an important wintering ground for these small ducks.

  • Waterfowl assemblage

    Important areas where a number of waterfowl species occur in significant numbers.

  • Common tern (Sterna hirundo)

    A silvery-grey and white bird sometimes called a ‘sea swallow’ because of it’s long tail.

  • Pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)

    A medium-sized goose that winters in the UK. Numbers are increasing in England, probably because of better protection at winter roosts.

  • Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

    One of Scotland’s four regularly breeding tern species.

  • Red knot (Calidris canutus)

    A dumpy, short-legged, stocky wading bird that depends on the rich source of worms and shellfish in estuaries. Large numbers come to the UK in the winter.

  • Eurasian marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

    A bird of prey - the largest of the harriers - is inching back in the UK and is now more secure than at any time in the last century. It is however still carefully protected.

  • Dark-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla bernicla)

    A small dark goose which occurs in good numbers at just a few sites in the UK. They are vegetarian and particularly partial to seagrass.

  • Pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

    A distinctively-patterned black and white wading bird with a long up-curved beak. 

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

Did you know?…

Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers

An area over 9 times the size of Wales is now in marine protected areas in the UK, but less than 1% is considered by MCS scientists to be well managed