Swallow Sand Marine Conservation Zone

Status: protected


Peacock worms (Credit Rob Spray)Peacock worms (Credit Rob Spray)

If you look closely camouflaged against the seabed at Swallow Sand is a mosaic of life including the fanned tentacles of the tiny peacock worm.

Sandy, gravelly seabeds attract spawning mackerel and sprat to Swallow Sands.

This site was designated in 2013 as a Marine Conservation Zone to protect the sediment habitats found in the area. Located within the northern North Sea, 99km off the Berwickshire coast, this site ranges from 50-150 metres in depth, making it one of the deepest areas in the North Sea. Swallow Sand is one of the largest recommended MCZs covering 4746.12km².

The seafloor consists of sand, coarse sediment, gravel and mud and is home to burrowing worms and bivalve molluscs. Within the western region of the site is an important geological feature, the Swallow Hole. This glacial tunnel valley supports high numbers of commercial fish species, including Sprat and
Mackerel. The north-eastern region of Swallow Sand is an important area for summer foraging birds,including Atlantic puffins, black kittiwakes, common guillemots, northern fulmars and northern gannets.

Other nearby sites:


Location map:

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