Lyme Bay and Torbay

Site overview: This site lies off the south coast of England, off the counties of Dorset and Devon. The site comprises two separate geographical areas (from east to west), the Lyme Bay Reefs and the Mackerel Cove to Dartmouth Reefs. Lyme Bay is one of only five areas in the British Isles where the sunset cup coral is known to occur. Other important resident species include a nationally scarce sea sponge and the pink sea fan. The sea caves found within the Mackerel Cove to Dartmouth reefs support a richness of animal life. Surfaces and walls inside the caves are home to a variety of sponges, bryozoan crusts, pink sea fingers, anemones and cup corals. Beneath the waves Seasearch, a national network of scientifically trained scuba divers, has surveyed this site on a number of occasions. They have been heavily involved in monitoring the sea fan populations in Lyme Bay between 2001 and 2006, which has coincided with an increase in scallop fishing intensity in the area.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Site of Community Importance
MPA Purpose
Sites which have been adopted by the EC, but not yet formally designated by governments of Member States are known as Sites of Community Importance (SCIs)


50° 38' 4" North,
2° 58' 11" West

Surface Area

312.75 km2
(120.75 mi.2 )


244.37 km
(151.84 mi.)

Iconic features protected by this site


  • Reefs
  • Sea caves (Submerged or partially submerged sea caves)