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The strand beneath Newtown House has recently been designated a Special Protection Area (SPA) because it is internationally important for the number of waterbirds that visit during the winter from North America, Greenland, Iceland and the Arctic. In spring and summer too there is considerable bird activity on our shore because it is a safe breeding ground for bird species from the continents of Europe and Asia..
At high tide the estuary seawater is lapping against the garden wall but at low tide the water goes out about half a mile to expose about 25 yards of sand and shingle beach before the start of the mudflats. With the sheltered nature of the estuary and the readily available food supply in the mudflats our shoreline becomes a paradise for the wading birds as the tide goes out.
The birds can be seen feeding from the bedrooms and the dining room table. Those of our guests who would like to walk the mile along the strand beside salt marshes to an area known as the Black Bog will be rewarded by seeing some of the most important habitat in the area. Our strand is not accessible to the public and therefore it can be enjoyed by our guests in total tranquility.
There are internationally important populations of Black-tailed Godwits and nationally important populations of Widgeon, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew and Redshank.
Other more common species are Light-bellied Brent Geese, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Shovelers, Red-breasted Mergansers, Cormorants, Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers, Grey Plovers, Knots, Greenshanks, Turnstones, and Sanderlings, The area is also important for the large concentrations of gulls that arrive in autumn and winter, including Lesser Black-headed Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls.