Estuaries of Great Britain

  • Nick C. Davidson
Reference work entry


For its relatively small geographical size, Great Britain (comprising England, Scotland, and Wales and their associated islands) is uniquely well endowed with estuaries, and these vary greatly in their geomorphologic origins, size, shape, extent of freshwater influence, tidal range, and their variety of coastal and marine habitats. They form a major component of the British natural environment and are of major significance for wetland biodiversity conservation and for the many ecosystem services they provide to people.


Estuary Tidal flats Saltmarshes Great Britain Waterbirds Land claim Coastal squeeze Managed realignment 


  1. Atkinson PW, Crooks S, Grant A, Rehfisch MM. The success of creation and restoration schemes in producing intertidal habitat suitable for waterbirds. English Nature Research Report 425. Peterborough: English Nature; 2001.Google Scholar
  2. Barne JH, Robson CF, Kaznowska SS, Doody JP, Davidson NC, editors. Coasts and seas of the United Kingdom. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee; 1995–1997. (Sixteen regional volumes: 3 published in 1995, 5 in 1996, 8 in 1997. Each 200–300 pp.)Google Scholar
  3. Buck AL, editor. An inventory of UK estuaries. 7 volumes. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee; 1996–1997.Google Scholar
  4. Covey R Laffoley D d’a. Maritime state of nature. Report for England; Getting onto an Even Keel. Peterborough: English Nature; 2002.Google Scholar
  5. Davidson NC. Estuaries, wildlife and man. A summary of nature conservation and estuaries in Great Britain. Peterborough: Nature Conservancy Council; 1991. 20 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Davidson NC, Laffoley Dd’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. 422 pp.Google Scholar
  7. Eaton MA, Cuthbert R, Grice PV, Hal, C, Hearn RD, Holt CA, Knipe A, Marchant J, Mavor R, Moran N, Mukhida F, Musgrove AJ, Noble DG, Oppel S, Risely K, Small C, Stroud DA, Toms M, Wotton S. The state of the UK’s birds 2012. Sandy: RSPB, BTO, WWT, CCW, JNCC, NE, NIEA and SNH; 2012. 40 pp.Google Scholar
  8. Joint Nature Conservation Committee. UK Biodiversity Action Plan. 1997. See:
  9. Maclean IMD, Austin GE, Rehfisch MM, Blew J, Crowe O, Delany S, Devos K, Deceuninck B, Günther K, Laursen K, van Roomen M, Wahl J. Climate change causes rapid changes in the distribution and site abundance of birds in winter. Glob Chang Biol. 2008;14:2489–500.Google Scholar
  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. Sustainable Development Commission. Turning the tide, Tidal Power in the UK. London: SDC; 2007. 154 pp.
  12. UK National Ecosystem Assessment. The UK National Ecosystem Assessment Technical Report. Cambridge, UK: UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre; 2011. 1466 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations