Lyme Bay

Lyme Bay

Lyme Bay is an area of the English Channel situated in the southwest of England between Torbay in the west and Portland in the east. The counties of Devon and Dorset front onto the bay.

The area around Lyme Bay is part of a World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast, named for its Jurassic geology. The Jurassic Coast runs from near Swanage in the Isle of Purbeck to near Exmouth in East Devon. Many of the earliest discoveries of dinosaur and other prehistoric reptile remains were in the area surrounding Lyme Regis and Charmouth. Notable among these were the discoveries made by self-educated paleontologist and fossil collector Mary Anning, in the 1820s.

The weather in the bay is temperate by English standards, and far more temperate than many other places at a similar latitude. The reason for this is the warming action of the Gulf Stream. The area along the coast of Lyme Bay is thus a popular holiday destination. On 22 March 1993, four schoolchildren died in what is known as the Lyme Bay kayaking tragedy.

Lyme Bay was the site of Exercise Tiger, a practice run for the D-Day invasion of France in 1944, using the beach called Slapton Sands near Slapton, Devon as the practice landing area. The operation went horribly wrong when German E-boats appeared on the scene and killed 749 American Army and Navy personnel in the middle of the bay.

A new ship currently under construction for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary carries the name of the area, RFA "Lyme Bay".

The beached container ship, MSC Napoli, is visible from Lyme Bay.


The diving off Lyme Bay is famous. As well as some tank wrecks from the D-Day practice, the marine life is some of the best in Britain and includes the Devon cup coral ("Caryophyllia smithii") and rare pink sea fan ("Eunicella verrucosa"). The reefs have been under threat from scallop dredging which, if unregulated, might destroy the coral's habitat. Devon Wildlife Trust has been campaigning to protect the reefs, calling for an end to the dredging and trawling within a 60sq mile zone to help the reefs recover. Thankfully about 20% of this area is now protected by a voluntary agreement made between the DEFRA and the enlightened fishermen of the South West Inshore Fishermen's Association. The reefs that the fishermen have agreed to protect from towed fishing gear are home to a spectacular marine diversity that will now thrive in peace.


* Axmouth
* Beer
* Branscombe
* Charlestown, Dorset
* Dawlish Warren
* Exmouth
* Fortuneswell -and the Isle of Portland
* Budleigh Salterton
* Lyme Regis
* Otterton
* Seaton
* Sidmouth
* West Bay


* River Axe
* River Exe
* River Otter

Other features

* Virtle Rock is an islet in Poker's Pool, Lyme Bay. It is the farthest islet from the coast of Poker's Pool.

External links

* [ Lyme Bay Coast Tourist Guide]
* [ The Towns along the Lyme Bay Coast]
* [] Devon Wildlife Trusts page about the Lyme Bay coral reefs
* [ Save Lyme Bay Reefs]

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