Natural England Conservation Advice for Marine Protected Areas
Hartland Point to Tintagel MCZ

This advice is draft. Once this advice is published as formal advice it becomes Natural England’s statutory advice and replaces the previous advice packages. In the interim, the draft advice should be used as a basis for informing management and case work as it reflects the most up-to-date evidence held by Natural England.

Natural England guidance

This site collection contains Natural England’s conservation advice for this site. It fulfils Natural England’s responsibility under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, to give advice on how to further the conservation objectives for the site, identify the activities that are capable of affecting the designated features and the processes which they are dependent upon.

Natural England’s conservation advice for this site is made up of a number of components. You will need to consider: Additional information for consideration:

Site information

Overarching site: None
Site name: Hartland Point to Tintagel MCZ
Designation type: MCZ
Site identification: UKMCZ0034
Designation date: 29 January 2016
Designated features
(click to see site specific description):

General information on the site features:
The general information on the designated features from the MCZ features catalogue is useful for understanding the designated features, and should be used in conjunction with the site specific information.
Designated area (ha): 30400
Component Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI):
Overlapping Protected Areas:

Last updated: 15th September 2017

Background information and geography

Hartland Point to Tintagel Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) is an inshore site on the north coast of Devon and Cornwall in the southwest of England. The site covers 304km² and extends from the shoreline to depths of approximately 50 metres. The site boundary follows the coastline along the mean high water mark from Tintagel Head in Cornwall to Hartland Point in Devon, and is characterised by steep rocky cliffs and stretches of sandy surf beaches. The seaward boundary encompasses three distinct areas. The first area is a large rectangular shape to the south of the site that lies between Tintagel Head and Cambeak. The second area forms a relatively narrow band that follows the coastline, stretching northwards from just off Cambeak to Lower Sharpnose Point near Bude. To the north of the site is a double-rectangular shaped area located between Lower Sharpnose Point and Hartland Point, forming a spatially continuous but distinct ‘zone’ within the site (Lieberknecht et al., 2011), (Godsell, 2014).

The site protects a wide range of features from rocky habitats to soft sediment which are important to the Marine Protected Area (MPA) network both regionally and nationally. The site is crucial for connectivity of habitats along the north coast of Devon and Cornwall, contributing to the protection of large intertidal habitats (Lieberknecht et al., 2011), (Natural England (NE), 2016).

The majority of the site contains rocky habitats in deeper waters (circalittoral rock) interspersed with sublittoral coarse sediments. This mosaic of habitat makes defining boundaries between habitats difficult. Where there is a stable rocky surface, marine creatures such as sponges, anemones and sea fan corals are found. Intertidal sand and rocky areas provide habitats for many species, including the honeycomb worm. Honeycomb worm reefs are formed from the closely-packed sand tubes constructed by these colonial worms. The reef structures resemble honeycomb and can extend for tens of metres across and up to a metre tall. In turn, they are able to support a wide range of shore-dwelling species including anemones, snails, shore crabs and seaweeds. This site’s reef-building tubeworm populations are considered to be one of the finest in Britain (Lieberknecht et al., 2011), (Natural England (NE), 2016). In deeper water offshore, the pink sea fan coral which is a slow-growing colony of tiny anemone-like animals feeds from the water column and can provide shelter to other creatures (Lieberknecht et al., 2011), (Natural England (NE), 2016).

Site maps

Use the MAGIC website to see site maps, including habitats, species and other marine designations.

These maps are based on best available evidence, there are some caveats associated with the maps on MAGIC.

The dynamic nature of habitat features and supporting habitats for mobile species is illustrated where data is available, as new evidence becomes available these maps will be updated with our current knowledge of their known extent.

Conservation objectives

The site’s conservation objectives apply to the Marine Conservation Zone and the individual species and/or habitat for which the site has been designated (the ‘Designated features’ listed below).

The conservation objective of each of the zones is that the protected habitats:

    1. are maintained in favourable condition if they are already in favourable condition
    2. be brought into favourable condition if they are not already in favourable condition

For each protected feature, favourable condition means that, within a zone:

    1. its extent is stable or increasing
    2. its structure and functions, its quality, and the composition of its characteristic biological communities (including diversity and abundance of species forming part or inhabiting the habitat) are sufficient to ensure that its condition remains healthy and does not deteriorate

Any temporary deterioration in condition is to be disregarded if the habitat is sufficiently healthy and resilient to enable its recovery.

For each species of marine fauna, favourable condition means that the population within a zone is supported in numbers which enable it to thrive, by maintaining:

    1. the quality and quantity of its habitat
    2. the number, age and sex ratio of its population

Any temporary reduction of numbers of a species is to be disregarded if the population is sufficiently thriving and resilient to enable its recovery.

Any alteration to a feature brought about entirely by natural processes is to be disregarded when determining whether a protected feature is in favourable condition.

This should be read in conjunction with the accompanying supplementary advice section, which provides more detailed advice and information to help achieve the objectives set out above.

Designated features:
    • High energy circalittoral rock (A4.1)
    • High energy infralittoral rock (A3.1)
    • High energy intertidal rock (A1.1)
    • Intertidal coarse sediment (A2.1)
    • Intertidal sand and muddy sand (A2.2)
    • Low energy intertidal rock (A1.3)
    • Moderate energy circalittoral rock (A4.2)
    • Moderate energy infralittoral rock (A3.2)
    • Moderate energy intertidal rock (A1.2)
    • Subtidal coarse sediment (A5.1)
    • Subtidal sand (A5.2)
    • Coastal saltmarshes and saline reedbeds (A2.5)
    • Fragile sponge and anthozoan communities on subtidal rocky habitats (HOCI_7)
    • Honeycomb worm (Sabellaria alveolata) reefs (HOCI_8)
    • Pink sea-fan (Eunicella verrucosa) (SOCI_8)

Supplementary Advice on Conservation Objectives

See supplementary advice on conservation objectives for this site, which aim to describe the range of ecological attributes that are most likely to contribute to a site’s overall integrity.

Last updated: 15th September 2017

Advice on Operations

See the advice on operations for this site to view information on the sensitivity of features in this site to the pressures exerted by different activities.

Last updated: 15th March 2019

Feature Condition

In 2016, Natural England trialled and rolled out a new condition assessment methodology that provide robust results and information on the condition of marine features within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Area Teams conduct these assessments following a standardised approach that assesses if feature- and site-specific targets have been met. Assessments for the first sites have been completed, and several others are currently assessed by the Area Teams.

To date, condition assessments have been carried out for marine habitat features of a number of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). Marine habitat features in other SACs will be assessed in the future. Different processes are currently in place to report on the condition of features in Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs), and on the condition of non-marine habitat features and species features of SACs.

The main part of the assessment process is directly undertaken and stored here on Natural England’s Designated Sites View. The details for the most recent assessments of this site can be found here.

Management measures

If you are carrying out an environmental assessment, planning an operation or assessing an operation or proposal, it is important to consult with the following organisations where applicable. To find out if any management measures, byelaws or other restrictions apply to your activity see the management measure page or you can use the following links for more information.

The Marine Management Organisation license, regulate and plan marine activities in the seas around England and Wales so that they’re carried out in a sustainable way.
Environment Agency are responsible for regulating major industry and waste, water quality and resources, fisheries, inland river, estuary and harbour navigations, conservation and ecology.
Offshore Petroleum Regulator for the Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) regulates oil and gas, CCS and gas storage activities in the marine environment.

Further information

For further information relating to this designated site you can refer to the following resources:
Site specific information: Other information:
For further information about this site contact: Natural England enquiries Telephone: 0300 060 3900. Email:

For further information on the Conservation Advice Project, including Designated Sites System (DSS) guidance, Frequently Asked Questions and a Glossary of terminology, please contact: