Minsmere / Walberswick Marshes

Quick facts

  • European Diploma of Protected Areas (code UK940003)
  • Since 1979
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Administrative region: Not available
  • Surface area: 9 km2 (935.30 ha)
  • Marine area: Not available

Source and more information: Council of Europe


Site contact authorities

Manager Geoff Welch Minsmere Reserve Westleton Saxmundham Suffolk IP17 3BY
Information Royal Society for the Protection of Birds the Lodge Sandy-Bedfordshire SG19 2 DL
Official contact international  
Official contact national  
Official contact regional  
Official contact local  


General character of the site Situated on the Suffolk coast, in Eastern England, Minsmere consists of fenland areas which in 1940 were flooded as an anti-invasion measure. In 1962 work commenced on the construction of a 17 hectare shallow lagoon system. Minsmere is the most important bird reserve in the United Kingdom. 
Vulnerability Introduction of non-indigenous plant and animal species, including Nutria (now exterminated). 
Owner Since 1977, the reserve has been under the full ownership of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedforshire, SG19 2 DL. 
Documentation Council of Europe (1980), Minsmere Nature Reserve United Kingdom, Strasbourg, 27p.. 
Habitat types  
Potential vegetation  
Geomorphology Wetland areas range from silt/clay loams near the coast to sandy peat inland. Woodland, heathland + formland lie on a series of buried pebble beaches overlying estuarine shelly sands + deep chalk deposits 
Educational interest A field-teaching scheme, run by RSPB teacher-naturalists, operates throughout the year and attracts c 1000 children pa. Courses cover Adaptation, Migration, Habitat Management, and in 1997, a special Avocet topic. The reserve is also used as a demonstration site for habitat, species + visitor management techniques, and as a training site for a range of practical conservation skills. 
Cultural heritage The diversity of habitats found on the reserve result from a long history of management by men. Recent acquisition of the grazing marshes included the purchase of the site of the original Leiston Abbey, built in 1182, which is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. 
Management plan  
URL official http://www.disabledbirdersassociation.org.uk/Minsmere.htm 
URL interesting  

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100