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Special Areas of Conservation

Thanet Coast

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England
Unitary Authority Kent
Centroid* TR348711
Latitude 51.39
Longitude 1.375833333
SAC EU Code UK0013107
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 2815.95
* 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 Thanet Coast SAC

General site character

  • Marine areas, Sea inlets (87%)
  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins) (10%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (3%)

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

  • 1170 Reefs

    Thanet Coast in the extreme south-east of England has been selected on account of the unusual communities that are found on this, the longest continuous stretch of coastal chalk in the UK. It represents approximately 20% of the UK resource of this type and 12% of the EU resource. This site contains an example of reefs on soft chalk along the shore. Thanet has sublittoral chalk platforms that extend into the littoral and form chalk cliffs. The sublittoral chalk reefs within the site are comparatively impoverished, owing to the harsh environmental conditions in the extreme southern area of the North Sea, but they are an unusual feature because of the scarcity of hard substrates in the area. Infralittoral kelp forests are characteristically absent, owing to the high turbidity of the water. The subtidal chalk platforms extend offshore in a series of steps dissected by gullies. Species present include an unusually rich littoral algal flora, essentially of chalk-boring algae, which may extend above high water mark into the splash zone in wave-exposed areas. Thanet remains the sole known location for some algal species.

  • Thanet Coast provides the second most extensive representation of chalk caves in the UK on the extreme south-east coast of England. The site is bordered by about 23 km of chalk cliffs with many caves and stack and arch formations. Partially submerged caves around Thanet vary considerably in depth, height and aspect and hence in the algal communities present. Some caves extend for up to 30 m into the cliffs and reach 6-10 m in height, although many are much smaller. They support very specialised algal and lichen communities containing species such as Pseudendoclonium submarinum and Lyngbya spp., some of which were first described from Thanet and have never been recorded elsewhere.

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

  • Not Applicable

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.