Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Somerset's Living Coast

What is Living Seas?

Living Seas is The Wildlife Trusts’ vision for the future of the UK’s seas. Within Living Seas, marine wildlife thrives, from the depths of the ocean to the coastal shallows.Read more....

Living Seas are a place where:

  • Wildlife and habitats are recovering from past decline as our use of the seas’ resources becomes environmentally sustainable.
  • The natural environment is adapting well to a changing climate, and ocean processes are helping to slow down climate change.
  • People are inspired by marine wildlife and value the sea for the many ways in which it supports our quality of life.

Why Somerset's seas matter

"'Out of sight out of mind' was probably never more true than for the silt laden, muddy coloured waters of the Severn Sea," says Somerset Living Seas Ambassador Nigel Phillips. "It looks like nothing much would be living out there. But this is very deceptive. These waters team with marine life.  Sprats, whitebait, prawns, shrimps, skate,  conger eels,  marine worms, marine molluscs and crabs are just a few of the many hundreds of species living in these waters."

Click the links below to discover some of Nigel's top marine finds:

Rockpool rambles

Snakelocks Anemone 044-002 n phillips

The Exmoor coast is home to some of Somerset’s finest rockpools.

Find out more

Dolphins and seals


Marine mammal sightings are common at the western end of Somerset’s coast.

What might I see?

Learn to love silt!

 Across the Severn to Awre 8 Oct 2008 c Karen Lloyd2

Find out why the large amounts of silts & debris in the Severn estuary is key to its importance as a home for marine life.

Love silt

Weird worms

Honecomb Reef Worm IMG 2986 n phillips

Somerset’s sea has extensive areas of low reefs built by the Honeycomb Worm.

Find out more

Find out more


A good read

 Somerset's coast


The Severn Estuary

 Severn Estuary © Avon Wildlife Trust

Ecologist Nigel Phillips is leading our marine work here in Somerset and his book 'Somerset Coast - a living landscape' is packed with more marine info. The Trust will receive a donation for each book purchased by members.


Read more and download our report on proposals to develop a barrage scheme on the Severn Estuary.

 Read more about the estuary 


Coast & sea gallery

Somerset's coast and seas teem with marine life

Sanderling and one Dunlin at Dunster Beach by Nigel Phillips Pink Coral Seaweed and Green Sea Lettuce by Nigel Phillips Common Brittle Star at Gore Point by Nigel Phillips Baltic Tellins on Brean Sands - an important food for wildfowl and waders by Nigel Phillips Pointed Top Shell at Gore Point by Nigel Phillips Painted Goby by Nigel Phillips Blue Rayed Limpet by Nigel Phillips The red seaweed Sea Beach, Porlock Weir by Nigel Phillips Six Seaweed Species at Porlock Weir by Nigel Phillips Kelp at Gore Point by Nigel Phillips


Get involved

minehead beachwatch

Join our group

We're setting up a group to raise awareness of Somerset’s marine environment. The group will be organising events and campaigns, and will be planning habitat surveys along our coast.

Contact our Living Seas Ambassador Nigel Phillips:

seal n phillips 3

Protection for our seas

Time to speak up for protection for our seas: Somerset Wildlife Trust launches a new campaign for marine advocates.

Read more about our campaign


The red seaweed Sea Beach, Porlock Weir by Nigel Phillips

Marine ID

Part of our Living Seas project is to identify and learn more about the wildlife that lives in Somerset’s sea. Find out how to ID that ‘thing’ you saw and don't forget to tell us about it.

What is that 'thing'?

Click the X top-right to enlarge © Nigel Phillips

Somerset Beach Survey

We need to know more about Somerset’s beaches. Please help by making use of the beach questionnaire on this page here.


Marine Events


Photos © Nigel Phillips;; Darin Smith