Plymouth Sound and Estuaries Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is located on the south coast of England and straddles the border between Devon and Cornwall. The SAC is a ria system with several marine inlets, including Plymouth Sound and its associated tributaries. The site is home to several nationally rare or scarce species, including red seaweed and stackhouse batters. It is also the only known spawning site for the allis shad.

Plymouth is a busy naval and commercial port, and management is needed to maintain the integrity of the site for nature. Like other estuaries, the pressures impacting upon it include commercial and naval shipping, commercial and recreational fishing and boating, as well as other water sports.

Plymouth. Photo credit Ocean Conservation Trust
Plymouth. Photo credit Ocean Conservation Trust

Plymouth Sound and Estuaries has been designated as a SAC for the estuarine and coastal features, including the wide-ranging mudflats and saltmarsh. These designated habitats are highly productive systems, forming a critical part of the food chain. They contain widespread and diverse infaunal communities rich in bivalves and other invertebrates and provide important feeding grounds for internationally important wildfowl. Notably, the only known natural population of the triangular club-rush in England is found on the Tamar.

Saltmarsh is an uncommon habitat in the south west of England and provides important roosting areas for birds. The site is home to communities of slender sea pens, fan mussels, and the nationally scarce tentacled lagoon worm. The saltmarsh fringes and seagrass act as nursery areas for commercially important juvenile bass.

The latest from this SAC


Restoration barge. Credit Jay Stone

10,000 bags of seagrass seeds to be planted at Plymouth Sound

Volunteers are busy packing 10,000 bags of seagrass seeds for planting underwater in Plymouth Sound. Research shows at least 44 per cent of the UK’s seagrass has been lost since 19361. This restoration work is part of England’s largest seagrass planting effort under the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES partnership, led by Natural England. The partnership’s restoration…


Wildflower seed bombing outreach in Wembury, Plymouth2

The seabed and YOU

Our new Education Officer, Esther Farrant, based at Ocean Conservation Trust, talks us through some of the outreach and education highlights from her first few months…  ReMEDIES outreach events and education programme have really been ramping up recently. Several primary schools in Plymouth have now been involved in a seed planting workshop and are keen…

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