Marine Drive has been confirmed as an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
The designation runs three miles along the east coast from Douglas Head lighthouse to Port Soderick.
The site was designated for its ecologically important coastal habitats including species-rich grassland, heath, scrub and sea cliffs with nesting peregrine, raven, fulmar, shag and gull colonies.
The designation includes areas of privately owned land as well as land owned by Manx National Heritage and the Department of Infrastructure.
The designation reflects the positive conservation management that has taken place thus far.
An important asset to this ASSI is its accessibility along the old coast road and everyone can appreciate the scenery and view the special wildlife.
Another important factor is that the boundary of the terrestrial ASSI overlaps with the Little Ness Marine Nature Reserve (MNR), ensuring continuity with the protection of our land and sea. Marine Drive is one of the best places to view whales and dolphins from land.
This is the 23rd ASSI to be designated on the Isle of Man.
ASSIs and MNRs form part of the core areas of our UNESCO Biosphere in recognition of their special biodiversity.
The Isle of Man was awarded Biosphere status in 2016 and all ASSI’s designated since 2016 will be included in the 2026 UNESCO periodic review.
Further information on ASSI’s can be found here.
Further information on Marine Protected Areas can be found here.
Photo by Peter Christian.