Ballan wrasse (Credit Ian Pilling)
Colourful creatures abound on the chalk and sandstone reefs off Dover and Folkestone.
Lying between Dover and Folkestone is a surprising diversity of seabed structure which mirrors the geology on land.
Below the white cliffs is an important stretch of marine chalk reefs, interrupted by the Samphire Hoe platform which contains the spoil from the Channel Tunnel. Heading towards Folkestone both on the shore and out to sea, the chalk gives way to soft grey clay and then to the lower greensand that can be seen at Copt Point. Twin-shelled molluscs called piddocks live in the holes they bore in the soft chalk and clay here.
Harder rock is rare in the South-East, and the rugged outcropping ridges of Folkestone’s sandstone support many fragile branching sponges, alongside soft corals, fan worms and anemones. Crevices in the rock harbour crustaceans, fish, and even cuttlefish, while the edges are adorned with light-bulb sea squirts or bottlebrush bryozoans.
Dive video of this site
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