Site overview: This site is located in the English Channel, between 5 and 10 km off the West Sussex coast to the South of Littlehampton and Worthing. It covers an area of around 47 km2. The vertical cliff face in this area is full of piddock burrows. Piddocks are bivalve shells, which burrow into the rock face leaving it pitted and weakened, but providing homes for other small animals such as squat lobsters and small purple urchins. This area also supports a wide range of marine life, such as algae, sea squirts and sponges, and is one of the most well-known (and possibly the most important) spawning sites for the black seabream in the UK. The rocky habitats and chalk outcrops found here provide an ideal nesting ground for this species. This fish has a unique breeding behaviour which has been observed here. Firstly, the male seabream seeks out specific types of seabed on which to spawn. They then use their tails to create nests within the sediment. The females lay their eggs in the nest and these are then guarded by the males until they hatch. After hatching, juvenile black seabream are known to remain in the vicinity of the nest for some time. This delicate spawning behaviour means the black seabream lives under constant threat from scallop dredging and other forms of bottom towed fishing gear, which churn up the seabed. Going beneath the waves Seasearch, a national network of scientifically trained scuba divers, has surveyed this site on a number of occasions. Worthing Lumps is part of this protected area and divers have seen the first Baillon’s wrasse in Sussex waters here. This is a rare fish to the UK, and is normally only found in Dorset.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Marine Conservation Zone
MPA Purpose
to protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology


50° 43' 43" North,
0° 27' 51" West

Surface Area

47.75 km2
(18.44 mi.2 )


31.55 km
(19.61 mi.)

Iconic features protected by this site