Swallow Sand

Site overview: This site is located in the northern North Sea where the offshore seabed is sandy, with some coarser gravelly and muddy patches. This is one of the largest Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ), a type of Marine Protected Area. This site has depths ranging from approximately 50m to 100m, with a drop down to 150m in the channel described as Swallow Hole Glacial Tunnel Valley. This area is important for sprat and mackerel. During the summer the north-east area of the site is an area used by birds for foraging, including Atlantic puffins, black kittiwakes, common guillemots, northern fulmars and northern gannets.

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


55° 45' 3" North,
0° 39' 47" East

Surface Area

4,746.19 km2
(1,832.51 mi.2 )


281.15 km
(174.70 mi.)

Iconic features protected by this site


  • Subtidal sand (Broad-scale habitat)
  • Subtidal coarse sediment (Broad-scale habitat)


  • North Sea glacial tunnel valleys: Swallow Hole (Geological or geomorphological feature of interest)