British Wildlife Wiki

Sandsfoot Beach, Dorset -

Sandy Beaches occur all around Britain's coast, and attract a range of animals an plants.

Plants & Algae[]

Just offshore there are likely to be a large amount of eelgrass, which inturn offers shelter for a range of fish and invertebrates. The few rocks which do occur on sandy beachs, will often hold a range of seaweeds.

On the actual beach there will be a few plants which make their home here. Some examples include Marram Grass, which can often form large grassy banks. Also, smaller plants such as Ribwort Plantain, Glasswort, and Curled Dock, are found on beaches.


On the beaches there will be a range of small insects and other invertebrates, some of which are found in no other habitat. On the southern shores, Hummingbird Hawkmoths and Painted Ladies will be among the migrant lepdioptera to reach the shores, and can often be seen visiting flowers near beaches. Dune Tiger beetles are found on some sandy beaches along the coasts, and various digger wasps and mining bee species can be seen on sandy banks. Black Oil Beetles are often seen wandering along sandy beaches.

Many crustaceans are found off sandy beaches, include the Shore Crab.

Many molluscs are found on the sandy beaches, including the Chiton Lepidochitona cinereus, the Tusk Shell, and many gastropods, such as the Common and Netted Dog Whelk, and gastropods which include cockles and razorshells.

Many marine worms are also found on sandy beaches, including lugworms, whose casts can be seen at low tide.


Many fish can be seen just offshore on sandy beaches. If eelgrass occurs, it is possible that sea horses can be found, while in the sand there is an array of flatfish, include Sole and Plaice. Both the Greater and Lesser Weever Fish are found buried in the sand, while Sand Gobies lie waiting for prey. Sand eels often form large shouls, but these are shrinking now. Also, Red Gurnard are often seen at the bottom of sandy bays.

Reptiles and Amphibeans[]

In a few sandy beaches in Britain, Natterjack Toads can be seen after dusk, and in the south Sand and Common Lizards are often seen basking on the sand.


Many bird species can be seen on sandy beaches, notably in winter. In winter, masses of waders can be seen on the coasts, searching for prey. These include Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Redshanks, as well as some rarer species such as the Kentish Plover.

Larger bird species include Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Iceland Gulls, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great Northern Diver, and Great Crested Grebe.


Dolphins can be seen offshore, while Common and Grey Seals often rest on sandy beaches. Foxes will often scavenge on beaches, and Rabbits are often found in large numbers.

Species Seen[]

Spring Summer Autumn Winter
Common Lizard Common Seal Rabbit Dab