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Special Areas of Conservation

Durham Coast

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England
Unitary Authority Tees Valley and Durham
Centroid* NZ455407
Latitude 54.75888889
Longitude -1.292777778
SAC EU Code UK0030140
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 389.61
* 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 Durham Coast SAC

General site character

  • Marine areas, Sea inlets (21%)
  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (43%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (31%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (5%)

Download the Natura 2000 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 Durham Coast is the only example of vegetated sea cliffs on magnesian limestone exposures in the UK. These cliffs extend along the North Sea coast for over 20┬ákm from South Shields southwards to Blackhall Rocks. Their vegetation is unique in the British Isles and consists of a complex mosaic of paramaritime, mesotrophic and calcicolous grasslands, tall-herb fen, seepage flushes and wind-pruned scrub. Within these habitats rare species of contrasting phytogeographic distributions often grow together forming unusual and species-rich communities of high scientific interest. The communities present on the sea cliffs are largely maintained by natural processes including exposure to sea spray, erosion and slippage of the soft magnesian limestone bedrock and overlying glacial drifts, as well as localised flushing by calcareous water.

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.