SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Duddon Estuary

image: SPA location map 

 

The Duddon Estuary is located north-west of Morecambe Bay on the coast of Cumbria in north-west England. It is formed where the River Duddon and the smaller Kirkby Pool opens into the Irish Sea. It is a complex site, mostly consisting of intertidal sand and mud-flats, important for large numbers of wintering and passage waterbirds. A range of grazed and ungrazed saltmarsh habitats occurs around the edge of the estuary, especially the sheltered inner section. The site is the most important in Cumbria for sand-dune communities including large areas of calcareous dunes at Sandscale and Haverigg Haws and contrasting acid dunes on North Walney. There are a number of settlements and industrial areas on the periphery of the site. Artificial habitats include slag banks and a flooded iron-ore working known as Hodbarrow Lagoon forms the largest coastal lagoon in north-west England. The intertidal sand- and silt-flats contain abundant invertebrates that support important numbers of wintering waterbirds, especially waders, during the migration and winter periods. Saltmarshes, sand dunes and Hodbarrow Lagoon act as important high-tide roosts for wintering waders and wildfowl. High-tide roosts are also found outside the site boundary on the landward side. The site is also of importance for breeding terns which nest in dune areas and slag banks, and feed in the shallow waters of the estuary and surrounding waters. Hodbarrow Lagoon is a key high-tide roosting site for terns. 

 


Qualifying species

For individual species accounts visit the Species Accounts section


This site qualifies under Article 4.1 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following species listed on Annex I of the Directive:
 
During the breeding season;
 
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis, 210 pairs representing at least 1.5% of the breeding population in Great Britain (5 year mean, 1988-1992)
This site also qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following migratory species:
 
On passage;
 
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, 628 individuals representing at least 1.3% of the Europe/Northern Africa - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Sanderling Calidris alba, 1,055 individuals representing at least 1.1% of the Eastern Atlantic/Western & Southern Africa - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Over winter;
 
Knot Calidris canutus, 4,495 individuals representing at least 1.3% of the wintering Northeastern Canada/Greenland/Iceland/Northwestern Europe population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Pintail Anas acuta, 1,636 individuals representing at least 2.7% of the wintering Northwestern Europe population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Redshank Tringa totanus, 2,289 individuals representing at least 1.5% of the wintering Eastern Atlantic - wintering population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)

 

Assemblage qualification: A wetland of international importance.
 
The area qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by regularly supporting at least 20,000 waterfowl
 
Over winter, the area regularly supports 78,415 individual waterfowl (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6) including: Curlew Numenius arquata, Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina, Sanderling Calidris alba, Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator, Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, Redshank Tringa totanus, Knot Calidris canutus, Pintail Anas acuta.

 


Note:

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.
 
Note that sites selected for waterbird species on the basis of their occurrence in the breeding, passage or winter periods also provide legal protection for these species when they occur at other times of the year.