History

Wembury Marine Centre is managed by a partnership of Devon County Council, Devon Wildlife Trust, Plymouth University’s Marine Institute, South Hams District Council and the National Trust, with support from Wembury Parish Council and with guidance from the Advisory Group of the Wembury Marine Conservation Area.

Wembury Marine Centre is the inspiration of marine biologist, the late Dr Norman Holme

The Centre was opened in 1994 by Cllr John Squire, chairman of South Hams District Council. It was built with funding from South Hams District Council, the European Regional Development Fund, English Nature and the Countryside Commission.

The Centre was refurbished in 2006 with support from the National Lottery Fund through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Plymouth City Council through the Landfill Tax Credits Scheme with the assistance of the South West England Environmental Trust and a legacy in memory of William and Helena Heath (nee Hurrell), beloved parents of Dorothy Harris.

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Team

The Marine Centre is managed by two members of staff employed by Devon Wildlife Trust. This year we are joined by a LEMUR+ trainee and by two full time volunteers on a student placement from Plymouth University. Click on a team member to find out more about them.

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Volunteer

Our work at the Marine Centre is supported by a fantastic team of part time volunteers who help out whenever they can throughout the season (March – October). Many of our events could not run successfully without them.

We welcome help at weekends and during the week. There is no minimum commitment – part time volunteers can give as much time as they can spare.

If you are interested in joining our team of volunteers at the Centre, please contact us for more details, you can email us on info@wemburymarinecentre.org or phone 01752 862538

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Conservation

As Wembury and the surrounding coastline are so special, they benefit from a range of local and national forms of protection. These include the following official designations:

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Status: Statutory – from Jennycliff in Plymouth to Berry Head and Elberry Cove in Brigham
Designated: 1960
Reason: The South Devon AONB was designated to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape.
Significance for Wembury: The designation protects the landscape, scenery, wildlife and cultural heritage of the AONB. It protects 60 miles of coastline and nationally important wildlife for example the cirl bunting and the greater horseshoe bat.

For more information visit South Devon AONB.

Marine Conservation Area (MCA)

Status: Voluntary – 4 miles from Bovisand to the mouth of the River Yealm
Designated: 1981
Reason: Individuals and organisations with an interest in the area established MCA because it was recognised that the area has significant marine wildlife importance and was subject to a huge amount of human pressure. The main pressures were identified as; visiting school groups, scientific research, specimen collection, recreational activities and small-scale fishing.
Significance for Wembury: The area is cared for by the Wembury Advisory Group, local people and organisations who have the interests of the natural environment at heart. A programme of marine awareness events is delivered by a team of wardens.

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Status: Statutory – the Wembury Point SSSI covers an area of 1.39 km2
Designated: 1984
Reason: The Wembury Point SSSI is one of over 4000 in England. SSSIs are designated because they are some of the country’s best wildlife and geological sites.
Significance for Wembury: Wembury Point SSSI protects both the wildlife and the geological features of the site. Of note are the rocky shore plants and animals and the coastal sand, shingle and steep slopes of sea cliff grassland and mixed scrub. It is an important site for wintering and nesting birds. The wave cut platform and degraded fossil cliffline are geologically significant.

For more information read the Wembury Point SSSI Citation.

Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

Status: Statutory – from Rame Head to Gara Point
Designated: 2001
Reason: SACs are areas protected by the European Habitats Directive. The sites are identified in terms of plants, animals and habitats and are designed to protect the world’s biodiversity.
Wembury forms part of the Plymouth Sound and Estuaries SAC and was designated to protect a wide range of habitats and species found in the area.

Significance for Wembury: At Wembury the main reason for inclusion in the SAC is the rocky reefs which form the rockpools and have wide diversity of rocky shore plants and animals. One of Devon’s largest known populations of the rare plant, Shore Dock is found at Wembury. The presence Allis Shad – a species of fish, is another reason why the area is protected by the SAC.

For more information visit the Plymouth Sound and Estuaries SAC.

Funding

Over the years we have received vital funding from a number of organisations. 

Wembury Marine Centre would like to thank Chris Marshall for allowing us to use his beautiful photos around the site:

To see more of his work, please visit Scoops Images