SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Deben Estuary

image: SPA location map 


The Deben Estuary is located on the coast of Suffolk in eastern England. It extends south-eastwards for over 12 km from the town of Woodbridge to the sea just north of Felixstowe. It is relatively narrow and sheltered, and has limited amounts of freshwater input. The estuary mouth is the narrowest section and is protected by the presence of shifting sandbanks. The intertidal areas are constrained by sea walls. The saltmarsh and intertidal mud-flats that occupy the majority of the site, however, display the most complete range of saltmarsh community types in Suffolk. The estuary holds a range of swamp communities that fringe the estuary, and occasionally form larger stands. In general, these are dominated by Common Reed Phragmites australis. The estuary is of importance for its wintering waterbirds, especially Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta


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;
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, 95 individuals representing at least 7.5% of the wintering population in Great Britain (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.