Exe Estuary

Site overview: This site is on the English south coast, it extends 10 km south from Exeter to the open sea at Dawlish Warren. The mud- and sand-flats here support Eelgrass beds and mussel beds, which together provide rich feeding habitats for wintering waders and wildfowl. The site supports internationally important numbers of wintering and passage waterbirds.

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


50° 38' 27" North,
3° 26' 29" West

Surface Area

23.68 km2
(9.14 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


  • Waterfowl assemblage


  • Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • 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)
  • Slavonian grebe (Podiceps auritus) (Annex I (species))
  • Dark-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla bernicla) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) (Annex I (species))