Location & Conservation Zones
Lyme Bay is a 2460 km2 area of English Channel coastline located in Southwest England, encompassing approximately 120km of coastline and numerous fishing ports.
Above the tide mark, Lyme Bay is one of the most spectacular and most valued landscapes in Britain. The shoreline of Lyme Bay, which is partly in Dorset, partly in Devon, is part of one of Britain's only natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast.
Below the tide mark, Lyme Bay reefs are the country's largest marine protected area. The area falls on the border between two managing Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs), Devon & Severn to the west and Southern IFCA to the east, and has a number of conservation designations:
- ‘Statutory Instrument’ (SI) (2011) - designated by Defra excludes all bottom towed fishing from a 206 km2 area of the Lyme Bay seabed. This designation was introduced to protect the structure of the Lyme Bay reefs and to recovery reef biodiversity.
- European Special Area of Conservation (SAC) (2011) - increased protection for offshore reef areas. SAC led to additional assessments of bottom towed fishing across the site by both Southern and Devon and Severn IFCAs, resulting in larger bottom towed fishing closures across the site through the introduction byelaws by both IFCAs.
Visiting the Area
Easily accessible, and only three hours from London and the Midlands, Lyme Regis is away from it all, nestling in the unspoilt West Dorset countryside. Part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site, and surrounded by areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Lyme Regis, the "Pearl of Dorset", is famous for its fossils, its historic old town, its Cobb and its beaches.
Many of the earliest discoveries of dinosaur fossils were made in the 1820s, around Lyme Regis and Charmouth. The sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations in the cliffs still make them one of the best geological sites in the world for education and research. Lyme Regis has a special place in literature, as the setting of popular works such as Jane Austen's Persuasion and John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman. A little out of Lyme Regis is the Undercliff, one of the earliest national nature reserves. The landscape from Portland to Torbay is some of the country's most scenic: the South West Coast Path passes along it and over the Golden Cap, the highest point on the South Coast, which is protected under the ownership of the National Trust. From its unspoiled cliffs on a clear day you can see right across the bay to Dartmoor. As far as protected terrestrial landscapes are concerned, Lyme Bay has it all.
For further information about visiting the area, visit: www.lymeregis.org.
For information about train and coach travel to Lyme Regis, visit: www.thetrainline.com