Dover to Folkestone

Site overview: At 20km2, this site is located below the famous white cliffs. The site has chalk platforms within it that form an almost continuous reef between Kingsdown, Deal in the north-east, and Folkestone Warren in the south-west. The chalk is in the form of a gently sloping platform with gullies which are up to two meters deep. The chalk platform and rock pools on the seaward side support a huge diversity of marine plants and animals. At Copt Point, twin-shelled molluscs called piddocks live in the holes they bore in the soft chalk and clay here. Harder rock is rare in the South-East, and the rugged outcropping ridges of Folkestone’s sandstone support many fragile branching sponges, alongside soft corals, fan worms and anemones. Crevices in the rock harbour crustaceans, fish, and even cuttlefish, while the edges are adorned with light-bulb sea squirts or bottlebrush bryozoans. There is a wreck here, and the short-snouted seahorse can be found, alongside a mass of fish, including Atlantic cod, ballan wrasse, corkwing wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, dover sole, flounder, goldsinny, pollack and seabass. This is an incredibly rich area, bursting with important marine life. Diving below the waves Seasearch (a network of scientifically trained scuba divers) dived this site in 2014 and completed a report detailing what they found. They recorded chalk reef and oysters in Wear Bay.

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


51° 5' 41" North,
1° 16' 40" East

Surface Area

19.52 km2
(7.53 mi.2 )


25.68 km
(15.96 mi.)

Iconic features protected by this site