Gouliot Caves and Headland, Sark

View of Gouliot Headland from the western end
View of the spectacular ‘Jewel Cave’ at low tide

Gouliot Caves and Headland, Sark

  • Country: 
    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Crown dependencies)
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    4 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    49°25'N 02°22'W
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The Site is located on the west coast of Sark. The headland includes the famous Gouliot Caves, an internationally important littoral and sublittoral fringe cave system, which crosses the headland three times and is submerged by strong surging tidal currents at high tide. The rocky headland supports a range of typical coastal habitat types. These include semi-natural coastal grassland/heath/bracken, soft rock and hard rock, and rocky shore, which support rare species of terrestrial plants, insects and lichens. The Caves have long been noted for their exceptionally rich invertebrate fauna. Around 200 species have been recorded, including purse sponge (Grantia compressa), northern cowrie (Trivia arctica), jewel anemone (Corynactis viridis) and Devonshire cup coral (Caryophyllia smithii). The sheer density of hydroids and anemones, made possible by tidal flows which bring copious amounts of food, is extremely unusual and possibly unique in the European Atlantic biogeographic region. The caves are visited by locals and tourists and used for leisure diving; the headland is also a popular walking site with attractive coastal views. The Site is not subject to any significant threats, apart from the alien invasive red ripple bryozoan (Watersipora subtorquata), which was first seen here in 2014 and has since increased notably.

Administrative region: 
Sark, Bailiwick of Guernsey

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