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Special Areas of Conservation

Sandwich Bay

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England
Unitary Authority Kent
Centroid* TR354617
Latitude 51.30527778
Longitude 1.3775
SAC EU Code UK0013077
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 1136.7
* This is the approximate central point of the SAC. In the case of large, linear or composite sites, this may not represent the location where a feature occurs within the SAC.
Location of Sandwich Bay SAC

General site character

  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins) (32%)
  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes (15%)
  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (35%)
  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (1%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (1%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (5%)
  • Improved grassland (10%)
  • Coniferous woodland (1%)

Download the Standard Data Form for this site as submitted to Europe (PDF <100kb)

Note When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • The Embryonic shifting dunes at Sandwich Bay are representative of this habitat type in south-east England. The seaward edge of the north of this site displays a good sequence of embryonic shifting dune communities and there is a clear zonation within the dune habitat, with strandline species on the seaward edge and sand-binding grasses inland. Lyme-grass Leymus arenarius is extremely sparse and sand couch Elytrigia juncea is the dominant sand-binding species.

  • Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria occurs along the seaward edge of the northern half of this extensive dune system. It is representative of shifting dune vegetation in south-east England, a region where the habitat type is very restricted in its distribution. Although the area of this habitat type is small by comparison with other listed sites, the shifting dune vegetation contains a good range of characteristic foredune species including sea bindweed Calystegia soldanella, sea spurge Euphorbia paralias and sea-holly Eryngium maritimum.

  • Sandwich Bay is a largely inactive dune system with a particularly extensive representation of fixed dune grassland, the only large area of this habitat in the extreme south-east of England. The vegetation is extremely species-rich and the site has been selected because it includes a number of rare and scarce species, such as fragrant evening-primrose Oenothera stricta, bedstraw broomrape Orobanche caryophyllacea and sand catchfly Silene conica, as well as the UK’s largest population of lizard orchid Himantoglossum hircinum.

  • The small area of dunes with Salix repens ssp. argentea found at Sandwich Bay is of interest as it is the only example found in the dry south-east of England and is representative of this habitat type in a near-continental climate.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

  • Not Applicable

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.