Minsmere-Walberswick SPA

Status: Designated

Description

Site overview

This site is located on the Suffolk coast south of Southwold in eastern England. It is made up of two large marshes and the tidal Blyth estuary.  The reedbeds here are really important for breeding bitterns and marsh harriers. The shingle beaches provide shelter for breeding little terns which feed substantially outside of the site. 

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 May 1992

Surface Area

20.18 km2 (7.79 mi.2)

Perimeter

81.61 km (50.71 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

52° 17' 14" North, 1° 37' 11" 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 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.

  • Northern shoveler (Anas clypeata)

    Shovelers are very striking surface feeing ducks with huge spoon like bills. The UK is home to more than 20% of the NW European population of this species.

  • Eurasian teal (Anas crecca)

    Little dabbling ducks - with a significant percentage of the wintering population in the UK.

  • Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus)

    The UK’s most intensively persecuted bird of prey. While they spend the summer on heaths and moors they head out to some coastal marhes in winter.

  • Pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

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

  • Gadwall (Anas strepera)

    A grey dabbling duck a little smaller than the familiar mallard.

  • Greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons albifrons)

    A grey goose with important wintering grounds in the UK.

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

Did you know?…

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

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

Over 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’