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Gibraltar Point

Designated a Special Protection Area under the European Union Birds Directive

A Marine Protected Area at Gibraltar Point, located at the north-western limit of The Wash in Lincolnshire has been created to protect breeding little tern and non-breeding bar-tailed godwit, sanderling, grey plover and their respective habitats. The shelter provided by wide beaches and sand flats results in continued deposition of sediment that supports extensive, well-developed and growing saltmarsh. These habitats are important feeding and breeding sites for birds and other wildlife.

A grey plover feeding on the mud. Image credit, Chris Knights

A little tern nesting on the dry sands. Image credit, Chris Knights

The coastal waters adjacent to the Gibraltar Point provide a vital food source for the breeding little tern populations by supporting large densities of small fish. The sand and shingle beaches further support breeding little terns by providing important ground nesting areas. Extensive areas of intertidal mud and sand support high densities of marine invertebrates, such as mud snails and worms, providing a food source for internationally important populations of wading birds. Saltmarsh also provides key feeding and roosting habitats for important bird species at this site.

Bar-tailed godwit flying the flats. Image credit, Chris Knights

The site is important throughout the year. During the spring and autumn passage periods and over winter the site is used by bar-tailed godwit, sanderling and grey plover for feeding and roosting. During summer Gibraltar Point is used for breeding by little terns.

This Marine Protected Area is designated a Special Protection Area under the European Commission Birds Directive and UK Habitats Regulations. For more information about the protected wildlife at Gibraltar Point please visit the Natural England Conservation Advice website.

Local Designations

North Norfolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Promoting an understanding and appreciation of North Norfolk's natural beauty and the importance of local sustainable development. Image credit, C. Knights More

RAMSAR Wetlands sites

Gibraltar Point, The Wash and North Norfolk have been designated RAMSAR sites to protect their wetlands and associated resources. Image Credit, S. Bosley. More

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Gibraltar Point, The Wash and North Norfolk have been designated SSSI's in recognition of their important ecological and geological value to the UK. Image credit, C. Knights More

National Nature Reserves

Gibraltar Point, The Wash, Titchwell, Holme , Holkham, Cley and Blakeney coasts have all been designated NNR's to protect their habitats, species and geology. More

Cromer Shoal Marine Conservation Zone

Chalk beds are home to a beautiful diversity of sea-life such as sponges, algae, crabs and herring and are protected at Cromer, Norfolk. Image credit, Rob Spray and Dawn Watson. More

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