Features of Interest

The South Wight Maritime European Marine Site (SWMEMS) is a candidate Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This designation includes both subtidal and intertidal habitats and species. Where habitats and species of European importance occur within the SWMEMS they are referred to as interest features. Sub-features have also been identified to highlight the ecologically important components of the interest features. The interest features and sub-features are mapped here. The SWMEMS is a dynamic site comprising a large range of different reef types and associated marine communities on the south coast of the Isle of Wight. The site includes some of the most important subtidal chalk reefs in Britain, representing 5% of Europe's coastal chalk exposures. The South Wight qualifies as a European Marine Site for the following interest features and sub-features:




Rocky shore communities


Kelp forest communities


Subtidal red algae communities


Subtidal faunal turf communities

Sea Cave Communities


The South Wight Maritime SAC also includes Vegetated Sea Cliffs, however these do not occur within the European Marine Site as they are above the high water mark. As such they are dealt with under the relevant Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designations. Consequently they are not considered within this scheme of management.