South Hole to Crackington Haven Sitting within the Hartland Point to Tintagel Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) this section offers habitats of significant importance. The area was designated in 2016 and it extends from the shoreline to depths of 50m. The designation is due to the presence of significant Honeycomb worms at the low tide and shallow sublittoral zone, Pink Sea Fans in deeper water and extensive growths of bryozoans, sea squirts and sponges on the sublittoral rocks that are characteristic of the north coast. The scourge of seafarers in producing so many wrecks, these rocks have created an ideal habitat for a wealth of organisms. Unfortunately, despite the designation, the reality of this is little change. Environmental organisations have openly criticised the government for creating ‘paper zones’ where little actual protection has yet to be announced. For this reason, it is essential that we continue to monitor and protect this section of coast, our findings might influence future management plans. In addition to this Widemouth lies at the northern end of the Boscastle to Widemouth Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Here the cliffs are considered to have an exceptional geology and flora with associated rare invertebrates.
Duckpool to Furzey Cove SSSI covers the northern aspect of our area and Bude itself is covered by Bude Coast SSSI. So many designated areas reflect the fantastic nature of our coast, not just the shore but also the sea and cliffs. On top of all of this, sections of the coast are listed by Defra as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). Impressive; if you would like to read more about these designations and the reasons please follow the links below.
SSSI’s are managed against specific habitat protection and enhancement plans, these are administered by Natural England and many have detailed information sheets that make good background reading. For a section of coast approximately 12 miles long it can be seen that we are spoilt for natural features to explore. The rocky shore is diverse, coves produce sheltered habitats where a few hundred meters further along headlands are battered by waves. Sand comes and goes, longshore drift and storms ensuring this feature is in constant flux. The cliffs rich with plant species including ancient woodlands are constantly changing through erosion. This is a dynamic environment, where we are well advised not to take our safety for granted. Here nature is very much in charge and we are only fragile visitors.