SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Dungeness to Pett Level

image: SPA location map 

 

Dungeness to Pett Level is located on the south coast of England, on the border of East Sussex and Kent between Hastings and New Romney. This is a large area containing a wide variety of coastal habitats, ranging from shingle beaches through to various types of wetlands and open water. Dungeness is a shingle beach of international importance as a large cuspate shingle foreland with a complex pattern of ridges reflecting its accretion and development over hundreds of years. The Open Pits contain a natural succession of wetlands from species-rich fen through to sallow carr. The nearby gravel pits have developed features of interest along their margins, as well as an open water interest, and, together with the Open Pits, are used by important numbers of wintering wildfowl.
 
Rye Harbour has a smaller shingle beach which, together with the pits at Dungeness, supports breeding terns and gulls. The grazing marshes at Pett Level and Rye Harbour have close-cropped swards grazed by sheep where arable farming has not been introduced and support wintering wildfowl, including Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii. The numerous ditches that intersect these marshes have developed a rich aquatic flora and invertebrate fauna, and provide important habitat for migrating Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola. Rye Harbour and Camber Sands, and Rye Saltings, include saltmarsh, sand-flats and mud-flats that provide valuable feeding areas for wintering waterbirds. As a whole, the SPA is important for breeding and wintering waterbirds, passage warblers and breeding terns, which feed outside the SPA in nearby shallow waters. Bewick's Swans also feed on arable fields outside the SPA.
 

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;
 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo, 266 pairs representing at least 2.2% of the breeding population in Great Britain (5 year mean, 1993-1997)
 
Little Tern Sterna albifrons, 35 pairs representing at least 1.5% of the breeding population in Great Britain (5 year mean, 1993-1997)
 
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus, 2 pairs representing at least 20.0% of the breeding population in Great Britain (5 year mean, 1993-1997)
 
On passage;
 
Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola, 30 individuals representing at least 44.8% of the population in Great Britain (Count as at 1997)
 
Over winter;
 
Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii, 179 individuals representing at least 2.6% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean, 1992/3-1996/7)
 
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:
 
Over winter;
 
Shoveler Anas clypeata, 419 individuals representing at least 1.0% of the wintering Northwestern/Central Europe population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)

 


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.