Y Fenai a Bae Conwy/ Menai Strait and Conwy Bay SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

This area is close to Bangor in north-west Wales and is made up of large sand- and mud-flats. Freshwater streams flow across the flats, mixing with the salty sea water and creating a unique environment.  Wintering waterbirds like the Oystercatcher come here to nest, it acts as a sort of spillover area when the nearby Dee Estuary is full!

This site hosts the Menai Straits, a fascinating narrow stretch of water that has up to 8knot tides regularly racing through the channel. It has the town of Bangor on its banks.

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 March 2001

Surface Area

265.07 km2 (102.34 mi.2)


195.25 km (121.32 mi.)

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

    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.

  • 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.

Seasearch Logo

Seasearch North Wales has carried out surveys in the site, which is challenging due to the high sediment content of the water and associated low visibility. The Menai Strait itself is subject to very strong tides which have a marked effect on the marine life there.

Learn more about Seasearch

Did you know?…

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

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns