United Kingdom designates its 169th Ramsar Site

United Kingdom designates its 169th Ramsar Site

15 March 2012
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Crown dependencies)

The government of the UK has designated the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits (1,358 hectares, 52°20'04''N 000°34'56''W), a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Natura 2000 SPA in Northamptonshire in England, as its 169th Wetland of International Importance. As described by Ramsar's Kati Wenzel based upon the RIS information, the site comprises a chain of both active and disused sand and gravel pits including open water, reed swamps, marshes, pastures and grasslands. The range of habitats and the varied topography of the lagoons regularly provide valuable resting and feeding conditions for more than 20,000 wintering waterbirds, especially ducks and waders. The site is important for flood control, and human activities include recreation (bird-watching, walking, fishing, sailing, canoeing, waterskiing, cycling), research and environmental education. Potential threats to the site include urban development, vegetation succession, and invasive plants such as Nuttall's Pondweed Elodea nuttallii. There is a visitor centre and facilities at Stanwick Lakes.

Ditchford Lakes (Photo: Henry Stanier)

Northampton Washlands (Photo: Wildlife Trust)

Summer Leys (Photo: Nathalie Hueber)

Summer Leys (Photo: Wildlife Trust)

Golden Plover (Photo: Jamie Cooper)