Deben Estuary SPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site is located on the coast of Suffolk in eastern England. It extends south-eastwards for over 12 km from the town of Woodbridge to the sea just north of Felixstowe.  It is relatively narrow and sheltered, and has limited amounts of freshwater.  The estuary is of importance for its wintering waterbirds, especially Avocets.

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 March 1996

Surface Area

9.81 km2 (3.79 mi.2)


45.77 km (28.44 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

52° 2' 35" North, 1° 20' 54" East

  • 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

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