Solent and Southampton Water

Site overview: This site is on the southern coast of England. The area extends from Hurst Spit to Hill Head along the south coast of Hampshire, and from Yarmouth to Whitecliff Bay along the north coast of the Isle of Wight. This site is a series of estuaries and harbours with extensive mud-flats and saltmarshes, together with coastal habitats including salt water lagoons and shingle beaches. In summer, the site is home to breeding seabirds, including gulls and four species of tern. In winter, the site holds large numbers of waterbirds, including geese, ducks and waders.

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° 46' 35" North,
1° 21' 31" West

Surface Area

54.05 km2
(20.87 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


  • Common tern (Sterna hirundo) (Annex I (species))
  • Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis) (Annex I (species))
  • Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa islandica) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) (Annex I (species))
  • Eurasian teal (Anas crecca) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Dark-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla bernicla) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Mediterranean gull (Larus melanocephalus) (Annex I (species))