plymouth guest house
Home Page Your Room Breakfasts Prices Finding Us Plymouth Exploring Booking Links Contact Us
plymouth guest house accommodation, plymouth guest house vacation, accommodation plymouth, plymouth hoe, coastal path holiday, bed & breakfast, guest house vacation, guesthouse, business accomodation, short break acomodation, b&b acommodation, devon hotel
Plymouth Sound is an open bay into which run several estuaries forming a complex ria system. The coastline of the Sound is steeply sloping and rocky, especially to either side of the mouth. Several major ecological zones have been identified for the Sound and its tributaries. This SSSI encompasses examples from the open coast and sheltered bay parts of the system (sections of the inner zones are represented in other SSSIs), and includes shore communities with a southwestern influence.
Penlee Point is at the western mouth of the Sound. The coastline is subject to strong wave action and the rocky shores hold typical open coast communities. Very steep bedrock shows unusual juxtaposition of habitats. These include exposed limpet and barnacle dominated open faces, deep sheltered gullies with luxuriant red seaweed communities, and sheltered rock-pools, some very deep with kelps, others shallow and dominated by coralline seaweeds. Some of the seaweeds, e.g. Mesophyllum lichenoides are south western or western in distribution.
Hooe Lake Point differs in character and geology from other rocky shores included in this zone of the Sound and that it comprises broken bedrock steeply sloped seaward, backed by boulders and shingle. Numerous midshore shallow rock-pools sheltered by the steep bedrock on the seaward side are notable. These are coralline encrusted with abundant seaweed Furcellaria lumbricalis and the south western Bifurcaria bifurcata along with the japweed Sargassum muticum. The more exposed part of the shore exhibits well developed zonation from barnacle dominated zone with a large quantity of the lichen Lichena pygmaea, to a red seaweed dominated zone on flatter bedrock grading into kelps in the sublittoral.
On the eastern side, there is a 2 km stretch of rocky shore within the sheltered bay zone from Mount Batten Point to Ramscliffe Point. This consists largely of Staddon Grits with an area of more sheltered mid-Devonian slates and limestone in the north; the variation in geology and exposure is reflected in the variety of biological communities. The site supports communities typical of rocky shores with good examples of seaweed zonation and is notable for its rich fauna, particularly that of under-boulders and overhangs.
On the main area of limestone south of Mount Batten Point boring activity by various animals has resulted in a very heterogeneous surface, which provides numerous microhabitats for both plants and other animals. These boring animals include the bivalve Hiatella arctica and in places abundant Polydora polychaete worms.
The upper and midshore is dominated by a limpet Patella vulgata and barnacle (mainly Semibalanus balanoides) community, whilst the lower shore varies from muddy gravel dominated by ephemeral seaweeds to unbroken bedrock. The latter is extremely diverse with fucoid and red seaweeds and a distinct band of the thongweed Himanthalia elongata.
In crevices and, particularly under overhangs, the biota is dominated by an abundance of the gooseberry sea squirt Dendrodoa grossularia. This community is nationally uncommon. A variety of animal species occur under boulders although this community is not as rich or diverse as that south of Jennycliff Bay (see below). Further south there is intermittent limestone and shale amongst sandstone, including both boulders and bedrock. Here the limestone is also well bored by Polydora. There are varying conditions of exposure with a limpet and barnacle dominated midshore with dense patches of mixed seaweeds such as the egg wrack Ascophyllum nodosum and bladder wrack Fucus vesiculosus grading into a dense zone of saw wrack Fucus serratus.
The gastropods Monodonta lineata and the periwinkle Littorina littorea are abundant. The diversity of habitats is increased by indents, rockmills, crevices and overhangs. The latter are dominated by tunicates and sponges, though not as rich as the limestone to the north. Around Dunstone Point to Rum Bay the shore is characterised by steep rocky ridges. These support typical moderately exposed rocky shore communities although unusual coralline dominated rock pools with numerous anemones Anemonia viridis occur in the upper midshore. The shore in Jennycliff Bay and to the south is composed of extensive broken bedrock which becomes steeper and eventually vertical towards Ramscliff Point.