Pen Llyn a`r Sarnau/ Lleyn Peninsula and the Sarnau SAC
This area is home to a huge variety of marine life including the bottlenose dolphin, the grey seal and the European otter. This is a huge site made up of Pen Llyn (the Llyn peninsula) to the north and the Sarnau reefs to the south, as well as the large estuaries along the coast of Meirionnydd and north Ceredigion. This area is named after the Welsh word for causeway. In total it covers 230km of coastline. The site is made up of reefs, sandbanks and mudflats, lagoons and even a couple of sea caves.
MPA TypeSpecial Area of Conservation
Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are strictly protected sites designated under European legislation. They contribute both to the UK MPA network and set up to protect habitat types and species considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds).
Designation date1 January 1996
Surface Area1,460.53 km2 (563.92 mi.2)
Perimeter467.14 km (290.26 mi.)
Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)
Among the rarest seals in the world - the UK population makes up 40% of the total global population. Grey seals spend most of their life at sea, only coming ashore to breed.
Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
The most well known and familiar of all the dolphins. A highly intelligent predators feed on fish, squid and shrimp.
Otter (Lutra lutra)
These fish-eating mammals completely disappeared from the waterways of most of central and southern England in just 50 years, their future now looks much brighter.
Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae)
Areas with specially adapted plants found in the upper reaches of saltmarshes that are not always reached by the tide. The habitat is used for grazing, but is also very important for birds.
The downstream part of a river, where it nears the sea, which is influenced by the tide These complex habitats can include areas always submerged by the tide as well as those exposed at low tide. They can be exceptionally important feeding and breeding ar
- Intertidal mudflats and sandflats (Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide)
- Lagoons (Coastal lagoons)
Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time
- Shallow inlets and bays (Shallow inlets and bays)
Submerged or partially submerged sea caves
Typically associated with reefs, caves that are either underwater all the time or welcome the sea at high tides, caves provide a habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals.
Glasswort and other annuals colonising mud and sand (Salicornia and other annuals colonising mud and sand)
Specialised plants able to thrive in the lower reaches of saltmarshes where the vegetation is frequently flooded by the tide. It is important as it can help the development of more stable saltmarsh.
Areas where the bedrock, stable boulders and cobbles or structures created by animals arise from the surrounding seabed. They attract and provide a home to a huge variety of plant and animal life.
The north side of the site has sheltered locations that are regularly dived, the southern section is more challenging and poorly served by dive charter boats.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’
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
Over 170 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed up to our Marine Charter calling for a network of ‘marine protected areas’ in UK Seas
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