SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Minsmere – Walberswick

image: SPA location map 

 

Minsmere – Walberswick is located on the Suffolk coast south of Southwold in eastern England. It comprises two large marshes, the tidal Blyth estuary and associated habitats. This composite coastal site contains a complex mosaic of habitats, notably areas of marsh with dykes, extensive reedbeds, mud-flats, lagoons, shingle, woodland and areas of lowland heath. It supports the largest continuous stand of Common Reed Phragmites australis in England and Wales and demonstrates the nationally rare transition in grazing marsh ditch plants from brackish to fresh water. There are nationally important numbers of breeding and wintering birds. In particular, the reedbeds are of major importance for breeding Bittern Botaurus stellaris and Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus. A range of breeding waders (e.g. Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta) and heathland birds occur in other areas of the SPA. The shingle beaches support important numbers of breeding Little Tern Sterna albifrons, which feed substantially outside the SPA in adjacent marine waters. The site is also important for wintering Bitterns and raptors. 

 


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;
 
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, 91 pairs representing at least 15.4% of the breeding population in Great Britain (RBBP 1996)
 
Bittern Botaurus stellaris, 7 individuals representing at least 35.0% of the breeding population in Great Britain (5 year mean, 1993-1997)
 
Little Tern Sterna albifrons, 28 pairs representing at least 1.2% of the breeding population in Great Britain (5 year mean, 1992-1996)
 
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, 16 pairs representing at least 10.0% of the breeding population in Great Britain (5 year mean, 1993-1997)
 
Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, 24 pairs representing at least 0.7% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count, as at 1990)
 
Woodlark Lullula arborea, 20 pairs representing at least 1.3% of the breeding population in Great Britain (RSPB, 5 year mean 95-99)
 
Over winter;
 
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, 278 individuals representing at least 21.9% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Bittern Botaurus stellaris, 14 individuals representing at least 14.0% of the wintering population in Great Britain (Count as at 1998)
 
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, 15 individuals representing at least 2.0% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean, 1985/6-1989/90)

 


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.