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The Wash

The Wash, shared between Lincolnshire and Norfolk, is one of the UK's most important estuaries providing a winter feeding ground for over 300,000 visiting water birds.

Measuring approximately 20 km wide and 30 km long, The Wash opens into the North Sea with the rivers Steeping, Witham, Welland, Nene and Great Ouse flowing into it. Local people rely on The Wash and its hinterland for many of their economic and recreational activities, for fishing, port uses, sailing, wildfowling, walking, bird watching and grazing cattle.

The area is locally, nationally and internationally important for a variety of plants, animals and habitats. Providing Britain's second largest area of mud and sand flats, its waters teem with life including many fish species, coral forming worms, starfish, crabs, cockles and sea anemones.

Huge numbers of migratory birds stop off here, some to breed or over-winter, others on their way to more distant places. The Wash and North Norfolk coast are home to more common seals than anywhere else in England. The reclaimed hinterlands are crossed by a network of dykes and drains with occasional trees and copses lifting the eye skyward. The vast land and seascapes of The Wash are remote and wild.

Our Council is one of the "relevant authorities" responsible for the conservation and management of the European Marine Site. We discharge this function through our membership of The Wash and North Norfolk Coast European Marine Site Partnership (EMS).  The EMS covers more than 107,000 hectares of marine environment.  Fisheries are managed in a sustainable way by the Eastern Sea Fisheries Joint Committee.

The Lincolnshire Nature Strategy, produced by Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership, contains a Coastal and Marine Habitat Action Plan which can be accessed by visiting the link to the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership on the right hand side of this page. The Wash features prominently within this.