Solent Maritime SAC

Status: Designated

Description

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. 

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 1998

Surface Area

112.51 km2 (43.44 mi.2)

Perimeter

393.83 km (244.72 mi.)

  • 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.

  • Estuaries

    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)
  • 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)

    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.

  • Annual vegetation of drift lines

    Plants that last mostly only for one growing season on fine shingle shorelines that tend to shift and change.

  • Cord-grass (Spartina swards (Spartinion maritimae))

    This specialised plant grows on the seaward edge of saltmarshes and  on creek edges.


Seasearch Logo

Most Seasearch diving in the Solent EMS area has been over seagrass habitat

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

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

Stop the plastic tide

Support our appeal to turn the tide on plastics.

Find out more