Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds MCZ

Status: Designated

Description

Site overview

This site features the longest chalk reef known in Europe - possibly the longest in the world, stretching on for 20 miles! In fact, it has even been suggested that this site should be re-named The Great Barrier Reef of Norfolk. It is located just 200 meters from the Norfolk coast and includes arch formations in the chalk walls which can be up to 20 metres high.

MPA Type

Marine Conservation Zone

Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are designated under UK legislation (Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009) and have been established around England, Wales and Northern Ireland to contribute to the UK MPA network protect a range of nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology, and can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh territorial and UK offshore waters.

Surface Area

320.32 km2 (123.68 mi.2)

Perimeter

87.78 km (54.55 mi.)

Coordinates (central point)

52° 57' 20" North, 1° 21' 6" East

  • Moderate energy circalittoral rock

    Deeper water rock, with some shelter from waves and currents.

  • Subtidal sand

    Sandy seascapes that can seem a bit like deserts, but can be full of life. Flat fish and sand eels camouflaged on the surface of the sand,worms and bivalves (with their paired, hinged shells) all live in places like these.

  • Subtidal coarse sediment

    Undersea beds of coarse sand, gravel and shingle. Most of the animals that live here, like bristleworms, sand mason worms, small shrimp-like animals, burrowing anemones, carpet shell clams and venus cockles, are found buried in the seabed – the safest pl

  • Subtidal mixed sediments

    Undersea beds of a mixture of stones, gravels, sands and muds. Because mixed seabeds are so varied, they may support a wide range of animals, both on and in the sediment.

  • High energy circalittoral rock

    Rocky areas affected by strong waves or currents where the water depth means there is not enough sunlight so marine animal communities like sponges, sea firs and soft corals dominate and seaweeds are mostly absent.

  • Subtidal chalk

    The chalk we see on our coastline can continue below the tide and create a very rich habitat for marine life. Becasue chalk is soft it is vulnerable to damage.

  • High energy intertidal rock

    Rocky seashores, exposed to very strong waves and currents.

  • High energy infralittoral rock

    Shallow water rock, below the tides, exposed to very strong waves and currents.

  • Moderate energy infralittoral rock

    Shallow water rock, below the tides, with some shelter from waves and currents.

  • Peat and clay exposures

    Seabeds formed of exposed peat or clay, or in some cases both, which are very rare. Where they do occur they attract a variety of plant and animal life.

  • North Norfolk Coast (subtidal)

    An underwater geological feature of the North Norfolk Coast


Seasearch Logo

Volunteer divers from Seasearch have been very active at this site over a number of years, gathering evidence about the extent and condition of features for protection before designation (in January 2016) and subsequently.

Learn more about Seasearch

Did you know?…

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

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