SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Tamar Estuaries Complex

image: SPA location map 


The Tamar Estuary lies on the border between Devon and Cornwall on the southern coast of England. The estuary system is a large marine inlet on the English Channel coast comprising the estuaries of the rivers Tamar, Lynher and Tavy which collectively drain an extensive part of Devon and Cornwall. The Tamar river and its tributaries provide the main input of fresh water into the estuary complex, and form a ria (drowned river valley) with Plymouth lying on the eastern shore. The broader lower reaches of the rivers form extensive tidal mud-flats bordered by saltmarsh communities. The mud-flats contain extensive and varied infaunal communities rich in bivalves and other invertebrates, and feeding grounds for waterbirds in numbers of European importance. Saltmarshes provide important feeding and roosting areas for large numbers of wintering and passage waterbirds. 


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:
On passage;
Little Egret Egretta garzetta, 72 individuals representing at least 9.0% of the population in Great Britain (Count as at 1993)
Over winter;
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, 201 individuals representing at least 15.8% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
Little Egret Egretta garzetta, 42 individuals representing at least 8.4% of the wintering population in Great Britain (Count as at 1993) 



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.