Chalk Reefs

Chalk reefs extend up to 6km offshore and support some of the best and most diverse reef habitats in the UK, including rocky shores, kelp forest and offshore chalk reefs.


  • Rocky shores are covered with seaweeds which are grazed upon by limpets and winkles. They form an important link in the food chain between the marine and land environments. The shores of Flamborough Head are home to 112 species of seaweed and over 270 marine animals, including the piddock which is a specialised mollusc which bores into the chalk shore.

  • Kelp forest thrives in the nearshore waters around Flamborough Head, down to about 6-7m in depth. Kelp forest is the marine equivalent to tropical rain forest in terms of its productivity and biodiversity and it provides shelter to other marine animals such as fish.

  • Offshore chalk reefs include underwater outcrops, gullies, overhangs, platforms and cobble/boulder fields. This range of habitats combined with the effects of underwater currents support a vast number of marine animals including sponges, sea-mats, sea firs and sea squirts which create a living turf on the sea bed. Large beds of common mussel and horse mussel provide feeding grounds for plaice and starfish. The seabed around Flamborough Head also supports large numbers of crab and lobster, which are very important to local fishermen.