Solent Maritime

Site overview: This is a major estuarine system on the south coast of England. Beds of eelgrass and green algae grow in the sand and shingle seabed. Some very rare sponges have also been spotted here. The Solent contains the second largest grouping of Atlantic salt meadows in south and south-west England.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Special Area of Conservation
MPA Purpose
areas which have been identified as best representing the range and variety within the European Union of habitats and (non-bird) species listed on Annexes I and II to the Directive


50° 47' 29" North,
1° 8' 5" West

Surface Area

112.51 km2
(43.44 mi.2 )


394.19 km
(244.94 mi.)

Iconic features protected by this site


  • Atlantic salt meadows (Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae))
  • Estuaries
  • Intertidal mudflats and sandflats (Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide)
  • Lagoons (Coastal lagoons)
  • Subtidal sandbanks (Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time)
  • Glasswort and other annuals colonising mud and sand (Salicornia and other annuals colonising mud and sand)
  • Annual vegetation of drift lines
  • Cord-grass swards (Spartina swards (Spartinion maritimae))