Yarmouth to Cowes MCZ

Status: Proposed


Site overview

This extensive coastal stretch runs along the cherished Hamstead Heritage coast, famed for it its unspoilt clay cliffs, creeks and woodland, and home to the red squirrel. Beneath the waves lies another ancient landscape with amazing wildlife. The site includes one of the country’s best examples of a peat exposure, once-inhabited ancient peat cliffs submerged by prehistoric sea-level rise and now home to thriving communities of marine plants and invertebrates. Seagrass meadows are also found here, as well as rocky reefs where lobsters, crabs and the native oyster make their home. Cuttlefish thrive in these habitats, and the fishery for these extraordinary creatures has grown in recent years.

Designation of this marine conservation zone in 2019 will protect these fragile species and habitats from the impacts of damaging activities.

MPA Type

Marine Conservation Zone

Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are designated under UK legislation (Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009) and have been established around England, Wales and Northern Ireland to contribute to the UK MPA network protect a range of nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology, and can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh territorial and UK offshore waters.

Surface Area

16.89 km2 (6.52 mi.2)


120.28 km (74.74 mi.)

Seasearch Logo

There is some data for this site gathered by Seasearch partners at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Challenging tides and generally poor visibility make it a difficult area to dive, but Bouldnor Cliff is a fascinating outcrop of peat with evidence of Neolithic habitation.

Learn more about Seasearch

Did you know?…

Over 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’

An area over 9 times the size of Wales is now in marine protected areas in the UK, but less than 1% is considered by MCS scientists to be well managed

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