Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Somerset’s Reefs

Rock Reefs

Rock Reef East Quantocks Head IMG 1508 n phillips

Rock reefs at East Quantocks Head

Between Hinkley Point and Blue Anchor Bay, the beach is predominantly composed of dramatic Jurassic rocks that form undulating reef like structures with vast numbers of nooks and crannies for crabs, anemones, molluscs, shrimps and small fish to hide away in. When the tide is in they will be active and feeding, when the tide drops they will retreat into damp crevices. These rock reefs also provide good habitat for a wide variety of seaweeds to anchor themselves onto, and Bladder Wrack, Egg Wrack and Toothed Wrack all grow abundantly here.

Broad-clawed Porcelain Crab IMG 9391-001 n phillips

Broad-clawed procelain crab

 

Reef Building Worms at Blue Anchor Bay

 
Honecomb Reef Worm IMG 2986 n phillips  

Somerset’s sea has extensive areas of low reefs built by the Honeycomb Worm. These marine worms live in colonies of hundreds of thousands of individuals. Each worm, only 3-4 cm long, constructs a tube to live in from grains of sand. As the colony grows, they start to build their tube homes on top of each other creating significant structures on the sea floor.

These sand tube reefs may stand up to 30 cm high and cover hundreds of square metres. This reef habitat provides a home for of a wide range of other species including young fish, crabs, brittlestars and molluscs.

Honeycomb Worm reefs occur mainly in the sub tidal zone, i.e in the area always underwater, and are only occasionally exposed when the tide drops very low, and which are known as “spring tides”. The eastern end of Blue Anchor Bay is a good place to look for these reefs.

 

Honeycombe Reef Worm IMG 9045-001 n phillips

Photos © Nigel Phillips