Marine areas, Sea inlets (100%)
Habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site:
This site is situated mostly within the Western English Channel and Celtic Regional Sea and lies off the south coast of England off the counties of Dorset and Devon. The site comprises of two main areas containing Annex I ‘reef’ and ‘sea cave’ habitat. The reef features extend over a large area. Unlike other sites within the Lyme Bay and Torbay site, they do not extend directly out from the coast but occur as outcropping bedrock slightly offshore. The softer sediment habitats are commonly found between the bedrock or cobble / boulder areas. Examples of the classical wave-eroded sea caves are found at all the sites of different levels and rock types.The site is indicative of offshore reef and has particularly high species richness and identified it as a marine biodiversity “hot spot”.
Submerged or partially submerged sea caves
A large number of infralittoral sea caves have been identified within Torbay and the surrounding coastline from Mackerel Cove in the north, to Sharkham Point in the south. Examples of the classical wave-eroded sea caves are found at all the sites. They occur in several different rock types, and at levels from above the high water mark of spring tides down to permanently flooded caves lying in the infralittoral zone.