North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SAC

Status: Designated


Site overview

The sandbanks here are home to communities of invertebrates such as polychaete worms, crabs and starfish.  The reefs found in this site are made from thousands of fragile sand-tubes made by ross worms, which have consolidated together to create a solid reef. In 2003, this Saturn reef covered an area approximately 750m by 500m.

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 August 2010

Surface Area

3,605.97 km2 (1,392.27 mi.2)


289.97 km (180.18 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

53° 22' 32" North, 2° 7' 20" East

  • Subtidal sandbanks

    Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time

  • 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.

  • Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time

    Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time provide a habitat for burrowing animals like worms, shellfish and urchins.

Did you know?…

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 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

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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