Poole Harbour

Site overview: Poole Harbour is a bar-built estuary on the coast of Dorset in southern England. As a whole, the Harbour supports important numbers of waterbirds in winter and is also an important breeding site for terns and gulls, whilst significant numbers of little egrets and aquatic warblers migrate through this area. Parts of the Harbour, along the western and southern shores, are next to the Dorset Heathlands Special Protection Area (a type of Marine Protected Area).

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° 41' 47" North,
2° 1' 34" West

Surface Area

23.15 km2
(8.94 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


  • Common tern (Sterna hirundo) (Annex I (species))
  • Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa islandica) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Common shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) (Annex I (species))
  • Mediterranean gull (Larus melanocephalus) (Annex I (species))