Boats on Mundesley beach, Norfolk - Alice Tebb

The Norfolk coast is home to the longest chalk reef in Europe, possibly the world: the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds. We're working to protect it with the local community.

The Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds Marine Conservation Zone

Thought to be the longest chalk reef in Europe, possibly the world, the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds support an utterly unique array of plants and animals. In fact, a purple sponge - Parpal Dumplin' - was discovered on the reef in 2011, previously unknown anywhere else in the world!

The importance of the reef was recognised in 2016 when it was designated as a Marine Conservation Zone. The designation intended to protect the incredible habitats and creatures beneath the surface.

Sponge crab Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds MCZ, Norfolk, Samantha Bean.jpg

A sponge crab on the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds

Credit: Samantha Bean

Our Common Ground Community Voice Method project spent time in Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire, talking with local people living along the coast about how they connected to, and valued, the sea. Our project played a crucial role in understanding how conservation measures would be received and what more could be done in the region. Now, as a result of the designation of the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds Marine Conservation Zone causing concern amongst some community members, we are able to put our Common Ground learning to good use with our Agents of Change programme.

The Agents of Change project is working with locals to help managers of the Conservation Zone decide the best way forward, in collaboration with the local community. We're also working to raise awareness of the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds in local schools and with wider community about the amazing wildlife, seascapes and marine cultural heritage of the area.

Our Agents of Change programme is part of the Marine CoLABoration and funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Our fishing-environment schools programme in Norfolk is currently funded by Seafarers UK, Norfolk Coast Partnership and the Wash and North Norfolk Marine Partnership.

Learn more about the Cromer Shoal Marine Conservation Zone.

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