The Plymouth Sound National Marine Park has received a £9.5 million grant and will officially become the UK’s first Marine Park!

Here at the National Marine Aquarium, we are incredibly proud to be part of located in Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City. Over the past few years we’ve been working closely with Plymouth City Council and local partners to support their efforts to make Plymouth’s amazing natural harbour the UK’s first ever National Marine Park.

Now with this amazing grant from Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Horizons Award we can all work together to ensure this park in the sea can become a reality.

ocean snorkel safari in plymouth sound national marine park
One of our Ocean Snorkel Safaris in Plymouth Sound National Marine Park

What does the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park actually mean for Plymouth?

The grant will allow the creation of gateways to the marine park with improved facilities at;

  • Tinside cove and pool
  • Mount Batten Peninsula and water sports centre
  • Here at the National Marine Aquarium
  • Mount Edgcumbe
  • As well as enhancing community access points though out the park 

Plus there will be a city wide community engagement programme designed to get all Plymothians out in, on, under and next to the water will be announced and the development of new ‘green’ marine employment opportunities.

The Plymouth Sound National Marine Park will use the latest tech to create new ways of engaging people with the park and learning about its hidden treasures without getting wet.

There is also exciting plans for a brand new visitor centre for the park here at the National Marine Aquarium.

A family exploring the National Marine Aquarium, on the shores of Plymouth Sound National Marine Park

Why are we involved?

The National Marine Aquarium is the home of the Ocean Conservation Trust. The charity runs our Aquarium as a place to experience the Ocean to connect with it, and want to protect it.

Our conservation work is centred around people taking positive action, so we will strive to help as many people as possible to experience and connect with the Ocean here in Plymouth through our conservation work including education and engagement programmes.

“As an Ocean Conservation Charity, we are delighted to continue our conservation, education and engagement programmes here in the Southwest and will continue supporting the fantastic team at Plymouth City Council to ensure that both locals and visitors connect with the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park in new and exciting ways.”

Our CEO Roger Maslin

Part of the bid money will support a new conservation project to restore and protect seagrass meadows in Plymouth Sound. More about our charity’s seagrass work here.

rare seahorse in plymouth sound national marine park
A rare seahorse living in seagrass, seagrass protection and restoration will be part of the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park

What happens now?

There is a lot of work to be done, and as part of the bid there is a development phase to identify what the money should be spent on over the next few years.

But, if you’d like to connect with the National Marine Park already, there’s a few ways you can here.

  • Visit Plymouth, explore the waterfront and even head out on the water.
  • Have a go at a Snorkel Safari with our team of Ocean Discovery Rangers from Mount Batten Beach.

Find out more about our conservation work, click here.

The National Marine Aquarium (NMA) is the UK’s largest aquarium, located in Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth. It is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean.

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