SPA description
(information as published 2001 - updated in 2012 - PDF 28 kb)

Lower Derwent Valley

image: SPA location map 

 

The Lower Derwent Valley is a major floodplain system located in East and North Yorkshire in eastern England. The valley holds a series of neutral alluvial flood meadows, fens, swamps, valley mires, Alder Alnus glutinosa woodlands and other freshwater habitats lying adjacent to the River Derwent, Pocklington Canal and The Beck. The Lower Derwent Valley is one of the largest and most important examples of traditionally managed species-rich alluvial flood meadow habitat remaining in the UK. These grasslands, which were formerly widespread in the UK, are now very restricted in distribution due to agricultural intensification. The character and species composition of the grassland, fen and swamp communities is largely controlled by topography, differences in the extent of winter flooding and by the type of agricultural management. The site is of outstanding importance for a diverse range of waterbirds throughout the year. In winter the site supports large numbers of swans, ducks and waders, as well as Bittern Botaurus stellaris, whilst in summer the floodplain holds breeding waders, Corncrake Crex crex and Spotted Crake Porzana porzana.

The SPA also includes the subsumed SPA of Derwent Ings, a site that was subject to separate classification.
 
For more information see Phased, extended and subsumed SPAs

 


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;
 
Corncrake Crex crex, 6 individuals representing at least 1.3% of the breeding population in Great Britain (1998 survey)
 
Ruff Philomachus pugnax, 7 individuals representing at least 63.6% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count as at 1998)
 
Spotted Crake Porzana porzana, 31 individuals representing at least 62.0% of the breeding population in Great Britain
 
Over winter;
 
Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii, 72 individuals representing at least 1.0% of the wintering population in Great Britain
 
Bittern Botaurus stellaris, 3 individuals representing at least 3.0% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1993/4 - 1998/9)
 
Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria, 6,000 individuals representing at least 2.4% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
Ruff Philomachus pugnax, 133 individuals representing at least 19.0% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
 
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;
 
Teal Anas crecca, 5,853 individuals representing at least 1.5% of the wintering Northwestern Europe 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 39,936 individual waterfowl (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6) including: Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Pochard Aythya ferina, Shoveler Anas clypeata, Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, Wigeon Anas penelope, Teal Anas crecca, Ruff Philomachus pugnax, Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria, Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii, Bittern Botaurus stellaris.


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.