Waters’ Edge Country Park is set in 110 acres of picturesque woodland, wetland and wildflower meadows, split over two sites.
The first 86-acre site is home to the Visitor Centre. There are two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), 10 ponds, native woodlands, seven walks around the park and two adventure play grounds.
The second site is located across the Haven, at the Humber Bridge Viewing Area and is home to our Humber Bridge Walk route, two adventure play grounds, the Humber Bridge Viewing Area, wildflower meadows and woodland.
The Humber, one of Britain's largest estuaries, supports abundant wildlife. Wildfowl occur in great numbers, while wading birds inhabit the mud of the foreshore and offshore.
In winter, Dunlin, Ringed and Grey Plover, Redshank, Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit all feed on the mud flats at low tide. In May and August, passage waders such as Curlew, Sandpiper and Whimbrel occur, whilst Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher have been frequent visitors in recent winters.
The upper shore is clothed in salt marsh with cord-grass, sea plantain, scurvy grass and sea aster, there are also areas of common reed. Kingfishers are frequent here in winter and mixed flocks of finches may be seen feeding on the seeds of the salt marsh plants.
Freshwater lakes are important for wildlife and the clay pits provide some substitute for the great wetlands of Lincolnshire lost through drainage. The water at Far Ings is rich in microscopic life that provides food for many invertebrates, which in turn support fish such as eel, roach, rudd and perch. Heron, Grebes and Kingfisher then prey on the fish.
Many types of duck – including Mallard, Pochard and Tufted Duck – nest on the islands and margins. In winter many more wildfowl live here, including Wigeon, Teal, Goldeneye and Gadwall, Goosander and occasionally Smew. Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe and Water Rail also nest here.
The Humber Estuary is important for nature conservation, with significant parts of the estuary designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Birds Directive. It is also an internationally important wetland site under the Ramsar Convention with the intertidal foreshore and some of the adjacent North Sea coastline identified as a potential SPA and proposed as a Ramsar site.
The estuary itself has been identified as a possible Special Area of Conservation (pSAC) under the Habitats Directive.
Sites designated under the Birds and Habitats Directives are collectively termed 'Natura 2000' sites. The directives, which are implemented in the UK principally through the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994, impose legal obligations on the UK government to protect the integrity and overall coherence of Natura 2000 sites.
Maintaining flood defences beside an estuary or the open coast can result in the loss of inter-tidal habitat. This can be either directly through the impact of maintenance or improvement works or indirectly due to the ‘coastal squeeze’ that will occur as sea levels rise if the defences are kept on their present alignment. To compensate for these losses large areas of the estuary have been identified for coastal realignment. This is a process by which the flood defences are removed from their present position and the estuary is allowed to reclaim the land.