The Needles

Site overview: This 11km2 area gets its name from The Needles, a row of three distinctive stacks of chalk off the western extremity of the Isle of Wight. The site has the only record for the stalked jellyfish in this region. It is also one of only a handful of locations of peacock’s tail seaweed - a brown alga that prefers warm water. Inshore around Alum Bay and the Needles, the seabed is predominantly chalk reefs with deep gullies. It is rich in seaweeds. In Totland and Colwell Bays, the seabed is largely sandy and supports seagrass meadows, which in turn host breeding colonies of sea hares - a type of marine slug. This area is an important site for black-headed gulls, cormorants and other seabirds which come to forage for food. In 2014 Seasearch (a network of scientifically trained scuba divers) compiled a report based on their observations of this underwater world. This evidence was submitted as part of the consultation into this site and helped secure its designation.

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° 40' 45" North,
1° 34' 16" West

Surface Area

11.02 km2
(4.26 mi.2 )


19.70 km
(12.24 mi.)

Iconic features protected by this site