Havergate Island

Havergate Island

Havergate Island
Welcome to the Havergate community group. Havergate is a magical place, Suffolk’s only island! The reserve is nestled within the Alde & Ore estuary and is well known for its year round bird spectacle.

Havergate Island

  • Havergate's wall lowering project

    We have finally reached the moment in time where we have started our highly anticipated wall lowering project on Havergate Island.

    For those of you that do not know what we are planning to do, here is a very quick summery.

    We are now starting to witness the impact of more regular storms on the island combined with higher tides. We are finding that the banks around the island are eroding more noticeably, paths are being washed away and the external walls are showing signs of erosion. These are all creating weak points in the islands defences and the walls need to be continuously monitored and maintained. The aim of this project is to take some of the pressure off the outer defences in extreme conditions.

    After the tidal surge in 2013, a big section of wall breached on Doveys lagoon. It was decided, instead of building the wall back in as it was, to instead put a lowered, reinforced spillway in.Over the past few years this concept has worked really well on Dovey’s lagoon, and so we decided to roll it out across the rest of the island.

    Havergate is always going to flood, and so the decision to build another, bigger spillway was taken to lesson the impact of further, future major storm surges. The idea of these spillways is to control the overtopping by allowing the reinforced section to overtop first. This then fills the lagoons and helps prevent any major scouring or breaching occurring at higher, thinner parts of the seawall. 

    We are able to undertake this project thanks to funding received from Viridor and the Environment Agency. Our vision for Havergate is secure it into the future and maintain its nationally important habitats and species.

    It is no mean feat creating a 700m spillway across the back wall of our Main lagoons (North end). It involves having 2 diggers out there to do the work and 300 rolls of rockfall netting which is used to cover and reinforce the lowered section of wall.

    So, after months of planning we officially started the project last week by taking delivery of 300 rolls of rockfall netting

    Unloading it

    The finished pile

     2 excavators were then transported out there one at a time

    And unloaded onto the beach


    We also needed to get a tractor and trailer out and then it was the huge task of getting the Rockfall netting out there and unloading it at the other end.


    After 7 trips with the ferry, everything is now on the island and we are ready to crack on with the works next week.

    I will keep you posted every week with our progress.

    Now, just a quick update on what we have been seeing out there recently. On our trip over the weekend we had 3 little stint, curlew sandpiper, sanderling, over 100 ringed plovers, dunlin, 2 knot, greenshank, grey plover, golden plover, bar tailed godwit, teal, 30 pintail, shoveler, wigeon and 1 Spoonbill (see our guide Steve’s blog post here https://bit.ly/2MWsabP , he has some fantastic photos!) Short eared owl and barn owls are also hunting over the river walls as well and marsh harriers and kestrels.


  • Visit Havergate 2018

    Wow, what a weekend on the island. The migrants have really started to drop in recently. Our top counts over the weekend were bartailed godwit, greenshank, 21 grey plover, 33 ringed plover, 2 whimbrel, 4 turnstone, 11 common sandpiper, 14 spoonbill, 4 knot, 235 avocet, 45 oyster catcher, juvenile ruff, sanderling, 65 blacktailed godwits, 330 redshank, 140 dunlin, little stint, , 2 juvenile little ringed plover (good for the island) hobby, swift, sedge warbler, willow warbler and white throat.

    Havergate Island is looking great after the recent attentions of Mike, our residential volunteer who mowed all the paths, cut back vegetation for us as well as sweeping all the cobwebs out of the hides, recent litter picks have been happening (if you visit in the near future you will see the humongous pile of rubbish (which is not good) that has been collected and is waiting to be taken off (this is going to be a day’s work in itself), and it is generally looking fresh and green after the recent rains. Most of the gulls have moved on now although late youngsters can still be seen on the lagoons in amongst the vast array of waders I have listed above.

    Our weekly work party volunteers have completed the new hide which offers great views looking over Cottage Flood and Belpers lagoon, and I have finally finished painting the boat, so it is (looking slightly more) presentable than it was! Finally, the Woodbridge local group have been incredibly busy organising and planning for the Havergate Adventure, which is taking place this weekend.

    The Havergate Adventure will help you get the most out of your visit, whatever your age or interests.  Whether you want to learn more about the islands wildlife, or just enjoy the charm and serenity of this special place, the knowledgeable RSPB Woodbridge Local Group members will treat you to a two hour guided tour that fits the bill.

    Access to the island is, unsurprisingly, by boat only, so a trip to the island helps you really feel you're getting away from it all. Boats for the Havergate Adventure leave Orford Quay every hour from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm between Saturday 18 – Monday 20 August. Homemade refreshments will be available to purchase and binoculars available to borrow so you don’t miss out on anything!

    So, if you fancy going on this adventure with your family and would like to book onto a trip please take a look at our booking page here. 

    Boats leave Orford Quay every hour from 09.30 to 13.30. Trips last approx. 2 hours 40 minutes and include a 2 hour guided tour of part of the island. Price: £15 for adults; £3 for under 16s. However, the boat can only carry a maximum of 12 passengers and demand is likely to be high, so early booking is strongly recommended.

    Here are a few of my favourite photos showing what has been happening on Havergate this year…

    Taking down the old volunteer accommodation hut

    Incredibly high tide back in January

    Fixing up the Spoonbill platforms

    Beast from the east!

    Obviously.....the hares come out after the hare event back in March!

    The finished hide ready for the Havergate Adventure

  • Havergate Adventure 2018

    If you had read our previous blog post - Havergate Island Blog – June 29 – July 20 2018 written by our residential volunteer Mike, then he just may have inspired you to visit Havergate Island to see if you can see any of the amazing wildlife that he was lucky enough to have seen on his visit.

    This is the perfect time of year to explore our wild isle (the only island in Suffolk), and our special Havergate Adventure, taking place in a couple of weeks, will help you get the most out of your visit, whatever your age or interests.  Whether you want to learn more about the island’s wildlife, or just enjoy the charm and serenity of this special place, the knowledgeable RSPB Woodbridge Local Group members will treat you to a two hour guided tour that fits the bill.

    Access to the island is, unsurprisingly, by boat only, so a trip to the island helps you really feel you're getting away from it all. Boats for the Havergate Adventure leave Orford Quay every hour from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm between Saturday 18 – Monday 20 August

    Homemade refreshments will be available to purchase and binoculars available to borrow so you don’t miss out on anything!

    So, if you fancy going on this adventure with your family and would like to book onto a trip please take a look at our booking page here. 

    Boats leave Orford Quay every hour from 09.30 to 13.30. Trips last approx. 2 hours 40 minutes and include a 2 hour guided tour of part of the island. Price: £15 for adults; £3 for under 16s. However, the boat can only carry a maximum of 12 passengers and demand is likely to be high, so early booking is strongly recommended.