Dart Estuary recommended Marine Conservation Zone

Status: Potential T3 site

Image Dart Estuary near Dittisham (Credit Paul Prestige)Image Dart Estuary near Dittisham (Credit Paul Prestige)

The sheltered nature of this estuary is valuable for many species which include seahorses, oysters, mussels, sponges, anemones and more.

Both short and long-snouted seahorses have been sighted here.


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The sheltered Dart Estuary is valuable for both wildlife and people. It is potentially very important for seahorse populations as it provides food and shelter. Both short and long-snouted seahorses have been seen here as far upstream as Dittisham.

Estuaries are highly productive habitats providing food and shelter for many species. Coastal saltmarshes and saline reedbeds offer shelter for many species here and meandering mudflats abound with ragworms, which estuarine birds feed upon. Young fish also take refuge in the estuary which acts as a nursery.

This site is of particular interest for the intertidal mud habitat found within its boundaries. If designated, it would be the second largest protected site in the region for this habitat. The mud is particularly important as it is highly productive and provides important year-round feeding for wading and migratory birds. The salt marshes within the site are also important habitat for many birds, juvenile fish and crustaceans.

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

Other nearby sites


Skerries Bank and surrounds


FilenameFile size
Dart Estuary Factsheet.pdf4.53 MB