Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

This beautiful area of coastline in north-east England and south-east Scotland is an excellent site for mudflats and sandflats. The site ranges from harsh, wave-exposed beaches to sheltered muddy flats. The largest intertidal beds of narrow-leaved eelgrass and dwarf eelgrass on the east coast of England grow here. There are also a couple of large mussel beds. Sandeels live in the sandy seabed along with worms - both of which are a food source for larger sea creatures. ┬áThere are also submerged sea caves, tunnels and arches in the volcanic rock of the Farne Islands and around St Abb’s Head. Grey seals call this area home and around 2.5% of total yearly population of seal pups in the UK are born here.

MPA Type

Special 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 date

1 October 1996

Surface Area

653.05 km2 (252.14 mi.2)


246.69 km (153.29 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.

  • Intertidal mudflats and sandflats (Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide)
  • 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.

  • Reefs

    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.

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Seasearch Northeast has been active in this area of coast in the past, which encompasses the diving hotspot of the Farnes.

Learn more about Seasearch

Did you know?…

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

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

Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers