Medina Estuary

The Medina Estuary extends 6.8km from its tidal limit at Newport Harbour to the Solent between Cowes and East Cowes. It lies in a wide shallow valley and the build-up of sediment has formed characteristic mudflats which support a large number of species including shellfish and important species of marine worm. These, together with the areas of saltmarsh, provide feeding, nesting and loafing areas for the resident and visiting waterfowl and wading birds. The estuary’s shoreline is approximately 14.4km and at low water a single, relatively wide but shallow channel remains. The middle and upper reaches of the Medina are largely bordered by agricultural land, hedgerows and woods. In contrast the mouth of the estuary and its lower reaches are lined by docks, boatyards and marinas.

Commercial and economic use of the estuary includes commercial shipping, ferry services, marine services, commercial fishing; and tourism. It is the only location on the Island which handles bulk cargo supports a wide range of services including boat building and repair, sailmakers, engineers, chandlers and mooring facilities. Historically, the Medina has played a significant role in the development of the Island’s economy and its past is partially revealed by archaeological evidence.

For more information about the Medina estuary visit Cowes Harbour Commission.

More information about Newport Harbour.

Medina Estuary Management Plan and Guiding Principles

The Medina Estuary Management Plan (MEMP) was originally developed through extensive local consultation and engagement in 1997 and then reviewed and revised by the local stakeholder group in 2000. It was a voluntary initiative with no legal or statutory power but was very successful in setting out a number of actions and objectives that were agreed between stakeholders in the local community and the statutory authorities.

The Isle of Wight Estuaries Partnership agreed that the overarching principles set out in the MEMP should not be lost as they were developed by the community and present a clear understanding of the important elements of the Medina estuary. You can download the Guiding Principles of the Medina Estuary (PDF, 61 KB, 4 pages).