Allonby Bay recommended Marine Conservation Zone

MCZ Tranche 2

Honeycomb worms (Credit Paul Naylor)Honeycomb worms (Credit Paul Naylor)

Allonby Bay contains some of the best examples of Honeycomb worm reef in the North West.

The region is home to creatures such as the breadcrumb sponge and baked bean sea squirt. Now all we need is a bacon barnacle and we have a full fry-up!


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Allonby Bay hugs the coast into the Solway Firth and includes two extremely important areas for marine life, Dubmill Scar and Maryport Roads. The area is highly diverse containing many different species of sponge, soft coral, seaweed, sea squirt, anemone and the reef-building honeycomb worms which is at its most northern extent.

Honeycomb worm reefs are a key feature of the northwest coastline, and play a vital role as a home to other species, allowing settlement in areas which would otherwise be shifting sediments. Allonby Bay contains some of the best examples of reef in the North West. Let’s make sure we protect it for the future!

One of the key habitats here are the honeycomb worm (Sabellaria alveolata) reefs – millions of worms, which form tubes from tiny grains of sand and shell, grow side-by-side to form a living reef. As a coastal site, Allonby is also particularly important to the local community and visitors who use the area for recreation, from walking to kite surfing.

Special features of Allonby Bay:

  • Most extensive and best example of honeycomb worm reefs in the UK
  • Living and rocky reefs provide microhabitats that support a wealth of species from sponges, crabs, lobsters and anemones to an array of seaweeds
  • Subtidal sands and gravel habitats are important spawning and nursery grounds for plaice, skate and thornback rays
  • Harbour porpoises are often spotted here and are thought to pup in the area

Protection of Allonby Bay would:

  • Greatly enhance to the connectivity between protected areas in the north-eastern Irish Sea
  • Boost tourism in the area
  • Protect diverse and vitally important habitats and species
  • Safeguard a special place for future generations to enjoy

StatusThis recommended Marine Conservation Zone is under consideration for the second tranche of MCZs.

This site is important, It contains some of the best and most extensive examples of honeycomb worm and intertidal biogenic reefs in the UK.

We need you to help ensure that this site is designated. Become a Friend of this site to stay up-to-date with The Wildlife Trusts' campaign to see how you can help.

Contains UKHO Law of the Sea data. Crown copyright and database right and
contains Ordnance Survey Data Crown copyright and database 2012


Other nearby MCZs

Cumbria Coast


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