Advertisement

The Wetland Book pp 1011-1022 | Cite as

The Wash Estuary and North Norfolk Coast (UK)

  • Nick C. Davidson
Reference work entry

Abstract

The tidal embayment of The Wash and its associated barrier island system of the North Norfolk Coast extending eastwards along the north coast of East Anglia is the largest estuarine area in the United Kingdom. Their total area is 729.5 km2 (12.5% of the UK estuarine area and about 3.5% of estuarine area of northwest Europe), with intertidal flats and marshes covering 35.6 km2 (10.2% of the UK intertidal area). This coast is of major importance for breeding seals, for migratory waterbirds, supporting the largest nonbreeding waterbird population in the UK, and as a nursery area for fish. Almost the entire area is covered by multiple international, national and local nature conservation designations. The intertidal areas of The Wash have been progressively embanked and converted to farmland since at least Roman times – at about 470 km2 since Saxon times the largest area claimed from any UK estuary. A major shellfishery was overexploited in the 1980s and 1990s, leading to declines in internationally important waterbirds. Some parts of The Wash are now the subject of managed realignment projects aiming to reinstate tidal flats and marshes.

Keywords

Estuary Tidal flats Saltmarsh Barrier Island Seals Migratory waterbirds Land-claim Ramsar Site Natura 2000 

References

  1. Atkinson PW, Clark NA, Bell MC, Dare PJ, Clark JA, et al. Changes in commercially fished shellfish stocks and shorebird populations in the Wash, England. Biol Conserv. 2003;114:127–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atkinson PW, Maclean IMD, Clark NA. Impacts of shellfisheries and nutrient inputs on waterbird communities in the Wash, England. J Appl Ecol. 2010;47:191–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Austin GE, Read WJ, Calbrade NA, Mellan HJ, Musgrove AJ, Skellorn W, Hearn RD, Stroud DA, Wotton SR, Holt CA. Waterbirds in the UK 2011/12: the Wetland bird survey. Thetford: British Trust for Ornithology; 2014.Google Scholar
  4. Buck AL, Donaghy A. An inventory of UK estuaries. Volume 5. Eastern England. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee; 1997.Google Scholar
  5. Buck AL, editor. An inventory of UK estuaries. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee; 1996–1997. 7 volumes.Google Scholar
  6. Dare PJ, Bell MC, Walker P, Bannister RCA. Historical and current status of cockle and mussel stocks in The Wash. Lowestoft: Centre for environment, fisheries and aquaculture science (CEFAS); 2004.Google Scholar
  7. Davidson NC, Laffoley D’A, Doody JP, Way LS, Gordon J, Key R, Drake CM, Pienkowski MW, Mitchell RM, Duff KL. Nature conservation and estuaries in Great Britain. Peterborough: Nature Conservancy Council; 1991. 422pp.Google Scholar
  8. Doody JP. The impact of ‘reclamation’ on the natural environment of the Wash. In: Doody JP, Barnett B, editors. The Wash and its environment, Research and survey in nature conservation, vol. 7. Peterborough: Nature Conservancy Council; 1987. p. 165–72.Google Scholar
  9. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. 1997. UK Biodiversity Action Plan. http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=5155
  10. Mossman HL, Davy AJ, Grant A. Does managed coastal realignment create saltmarshes with ‘equivalent biological characteristics’ to natural reference sites? J Appl Ecol. 2012. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02198.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Thompson D. Distribution and abundance of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) during the breeding season in the Wash and along the Essex and Kent coasts. Unpublished report to Natural England covering surveys carried out in 2004 to 2011; undated. http://www.dassh.ac.uk/dataDelivery/filestore/1/0/0_e74b5c443587fc8/100_7a6b8bf8c592c5d.pdf

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt UniversityAlburyAustralia
  2. 2.Nick Davidson EnvironmentalWigmoreUK

Personalised recommendations