Selsey Bill and the Hounds

Selsey Bill and the Hounds

Take a dive beneath the waters at Selsey Bill and the Hounds, exploring the wildlife of one of the 41 special places at sea we want to see designated as Marine Conservation Zones.

Selsey Bill and the Hounds recommended Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) is a special spot. Hugging the western edge of Selsey Bill on the Sussex Coast, the 13 km² site takes the second half of its name from the Hounds limestone reef found just offshore.

The Hounds limestone reef is alive with life and colour – sponges, sea squirts and seaweeds carpet the surface and squat lobsters and crabs hide within the crevices.

In the east of the recommended MCZ lies the famous Mixon Hole, a segment of an ancient river gorge now totally submerged beneath the sea. This vertical clay cliff creates a unique habitat for marine wildlife and a stunning dive site.

Look closely at the cliff wall and you’ll spot numerous holes in the clay – these are made by piddocks, a kind of bivalve clam that bores into soft rock to make a burrow. When the piddock dies, these empty burrows become a des res for other marine creatures, including juvenile crabs and even small sea anemones.

Beyond the holes, if you peer closely into the rocky ledges you might just spot the clown-faced tompot blenny or even a spectacular leopard-spotted goby. Look back towards the surface and you’ll spot the elegant form of a rainbow-coloured cuckoo wrasse patrolling overhead.

Selsey Bill and the Hounds recommended MCZ is an important foraging area for three tern species that arrive in the UK from Africa every summer to breed. The fish life also attracts in other hungry predators, with seals and bottlenose dolphins both recorded here.  

Designating this site as an MCZ would protect this special place from damaging activities. It’s vital that this site is protected as soon as possible. You can make a difference - by joining our Wave of Support campaign you can help convince the Government to designate 41 new sites, including Selsey Bill and the Hounds, as Marine Conservation Zones.

Cuckoo wrasse

Cuckoo wrasse ©Linda Pitkin/2020VISION

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Help protect special areas at sea

Join our Wave of Support and help secure Selsey Bill and the Hounds and 40 other new Marine Conservation Zones, each protecting a special area of our seas and the wildlife found there.

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