Hamford Water

Site overview: This site is on the Essex coast in eastern England. It is a large, shallow, estuarine area, made up of tidal creeks and islands, mud- and sand-flats, and saltmarsh. When migrating over winter, seabirds pass through this area. In fact, over winter just under 45,000 waterfowl can be spotted here. In the summer breeding terns call this area home.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Special Protection Area
MPA Purpose
areas of the most important habitat for rare (listed on Annex I to the Directive) and migratory birds within the European Union


51° 52' 59" North,
1° 14' 27" East

Surface Area

21.88 km2
(8.45 mi.2 )

Iconic features protected by this site


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


  • Ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Little tern (Sterna albifrons) (Annex I (species))
  • Common redshank (Tringa totanus) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa islandica) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Common shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Eurasian teal (Anas crecca) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Dark-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla bernicla) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) (Annex I (species))