Holderness Inshore

Site overview: Running from Skipsea to Spurn Point, Holderness Inshore runs along the coast of the East Riding of Yorkshire and is 317km2. The seafloor here is really varied and is made up of cobble habitats, mixed sediment, sand, chalk, peat and clay. This is a perfect environment for sponges and ross worm reefs, as well as many fish, including tope and smoothhound. Over eight different types of crab have been seen here, as well as the common bloody henry starfish and common sunstars. Harbour porpoises and minke whales are often spotted from the shore, passing through this area. Grey seals and thornback rays are also found here. The seaward side and northern part of this site are really important breeding and feeding grounds for seabirds, including little terns, black-legged kittiwakes, common guillemots, razor bills, Atlantic puffins, little terns, European shag, great cormorant, northern fulmar and northern gannet. This area is a major migration route and some birds stop here if bad weather blows them inshore, so you can also see other species here such as the little tern, brent goose, golden plover, knot, dunlin, curlew and redshank. The area is popular for shore angling and is used by at least 13 charter boats; there is also some scuba diving at the site. The shingle spit at Spurn Head and accessible beaches along the Holderness coastline are popular for wildlife watching. Spurn Head is one of the most important birdwatching destinations in the UK in the migration season.
At risk: Longshore drift and waves are damaging the low cliffs at nearby Withernsea - the cliffs are being eroded at a rate of two meters per year. A concrete sea wall and wooden groynes protect the base of the wall by breaking up the full force of the waves.

What is the cost?

Before this site was designated as a Marine Conservation Zone (a type of Marine Protected Area) the Marine Socio-Economics Project (MSEP) conducted a Cost Benefit Analysis of the area. It was identified that this area is important for tourism.

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


53° 46' 32" North,
0° 2' 5" East

Surface Area

308.96 km2
(119.29 mi.2 )


119.83 km
(74.46 mi.)

Iconic features protected by this site