Blackwater Estuary (Mid-Essex Coast Phase 4)

Site overview: The Blackwater Estuary is located on the coast of Essex and is a Special Protection Area, which is a type of Marine Protected Area. Its mud-flats are fringed by saltmarsh on the upper shores, with shingle, shell banks and offshore islands a feature of the tidal flats. The range of different habitats found here are important for a wide range waterbirds in winter, including raptors, geese, ducks and waders. The site is also important in summer for breeding terns.

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° 44' 32" North,
0° 48' 55" East

Surface Area

44.03 km2
(17.00 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))


  • Waterfowl assemblage


  • Dunlin (Calidris alpina alpina) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa islandica) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Dark-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla bernicla) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) (Annex I (species))