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The Dee Estuary

The beautiful Dee Estuary is a large estuary by means of which the River Dee flows into Liverpool Bay. The estuary commences near Shotton, after a five miles (8 km) 'canalised' section, the river swells to be several miles wide forming the boundary between the Wirral Peninsula in north-west England and north-east Wales.

The Dee Estuary from Thurstaston Common


The large, funnel-shaped, sheltered estuary is a major wildlife area and is one of the largest and most important wetland sites in Europe. The site also includes the three sandstone islands of Hilbre with their important cliff vegetation and maritime heathland and grassland.

Dee Estuary

The estuary offers great days out, whether you're exploring wildlife-packed bluebell woodlands at Burton Mere, or taking a bracing walk along the beach at the Point of Ayr. There's even the remains of the Wirral's only Iron Age hill fort to be seen.

Dee Estuary Birdlife

OystercatcherThe Dee Estuary is of major importance for waterbirds. During the winter, the intertidal flats and saltmarshes provide feeding and roosting sites for large populations of ducks and waders. In summer, the site supports breeding populations of two species of terns at levels of European importance. The site is also important during migration periods, particularly for wader populations moving along the west coast of Britain.

The pattern of colonisation in the Dee had been radically influenced by the creation of the Dee Cut, dug to offset the natural sedimentation of the estuary, which prevented Chester from remaining a port. The Dee catchment and its estuary have retained a good water quality to the present day.

Officially classed as a species under threat, the Black-Tailed Godwit finds sanctuary on the Dee Marshes, especially in autumn and winter. The Redshank is a year-round resident of the Dee Marshes and can easily be recognised by its long red legs.

The Dee Estuary is also a particularly good site to see Northern Pintail Ducks, as large numbers choose the site for overwintering. When the spring comes they leave for breeding grounds in Iceland, before returning in autumn.

Leach's Petrel, Manx Shearwater, Common tern, Guillemot, Arctic Skua, Long-tailed Skua, Pomarine Skua, Oystercatchers, Golden Plover, Fulmar,Great White Egret, Red-throated Diver, Peregrine, Curlew Sandpiper, Shoveler, Black-tailed Godwit and Mediterranean Gull are amongst many species that can also all be sighted there.

A walk along the Dee Estuary taking in Hoylake, West Kirby and Hilbre Island

Hilbre Island

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