Crouch and Roach Estuaries (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 3) SPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

These estuaries are on the coast of south Essex in eastern England. There is a narrow strip of tidal mud here which is used by large numbers of birds as a feeding ground. During the winter months waterbirds, especially dark-bellied brent geese call this area home.  The Crouch and Roach Estuary is an integral component of the phased Mid-Essex Coast Special Protection Area (a type of Marine Protected Area). 

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 June 1998

Surface Area

17.45 km2 (6.74 mi.2)


195.87 km (121.71 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

51° 37' 34" North, 0° 43' 51" East

  • Waterfowl assemblage

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

Did you know?…

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

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