Studland Bay

Site overview: Studland Bay is a shallow, east-facing area on the western edge of Poole Bay, sheltered at the southern end from both the south-westerly winds and the east-west tidal currents of the English Channel. This area is home to a meadow of seagrass, which is hugely important because its long roots ensure that the seabed remains stable. Seagrass can also help capture carbon dioxide, so is important in the fight against climate change. This seagrass meadow is also home to breeding populations of both types of British seahorse as well as pipefishes, wrasses and juveniles of commercial species such as bass, bream and flatfish. The endangered undulate ray also appears to be using this area as a nursery ground. In the wider bay, shallow-water, sandy plains support a range of shellfish, including the native oyster, the Chinese-hat shell, hermit crabs and the masked crab. Within the sand live many species of burrowing bivalves and worms, such as lugworms and the sandmason worm.
At risk:  ! This site is at risk, it currently is not designated as a Marine Conservation Zone, a type of Marine Protected Area - but should be. Decision makers in England will determine in 2017 if this site should be protected, make sure your voice is heard. Take action to ensure this site becomes a properly protected area. Due to its geographically protected location, Studland Bay is a very popular site for recreational boating activities and provides a safe anchorage, as well as private permanent moorings. The use of this harbour as a place to anchor boats hugely impacts the seagrass in the area. Anchoring boats to the seabed can churn up the seabed destroying the seagrass in that area, and so impact all the animals which make this area home. However, all is not lost; it is possible for those who enjoy being on the water to continue to do so without causing damage to the seabed. For example eco-friendly moorings could be used.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Marine Conservation Zone
MPA Purpose
to protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology


50° 39' 16" North,
1° 56' 19" West

Surface Area

3.97 km2
(1.53 mi.2 )


9.31 km
(5.79 mi.)

Iconic features protected by this site