SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Avon Valley

image: SPA location map 


The Avon Valley SPA encompasses the lower reaches of the River Avon and its floodplain on the south coast of England. The site extends for approximately 20 km between Bickton and Christchurch. The River Avon displays wide fluctuations in water level and parts of the valley are regularly flooded in winter. Consequently, the valley includes one of the largest expanses of unimproved floodplain grassland in Britain, including extensive areas managed as hay meadows and grazing marsh under low–intensity agricultural systems. These extensive floodplain grasslands support wintering Bewick's Swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii in numbers of European importance, and Blashford Lakes Gravel Pits within the SPA are particularly important for wintering Gadwall Anas strepera. 


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:
Over winter;
Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii, 135 individuals representing at least 1.9% 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;
Gadwall Anas strepera, 667 individuals representing at least 2.2% of the wintering Northwestern Europe population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6) 



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.