The rocky stacks of Bawden Rocks (also known as “Cow and Calf” or “Man and his Man”) form a centre point of the VMCA about a mile north of St Agnes Head.


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The big rock reaches about 25 metres above the high water mark and rises vertically, from the seabed  about 27m below. The smaller rock is surrounded by water about 18m deep and is often covered by spray in heavy seas whilst even the larger rock is covered in big storms. A rocky reef up to about 10m high in places which runs away northwest from the rock creates turbulence and mixing of the water which boils with eddies visible at the surface when the tide is at its strongest. This high tidal flow brings a constant supply of nutrients and plankton which produces an amazing underwater spectacle with every inch of rock surface covered in anemones, mussels and other marine life. Pink seafans, a protected and Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species are found here.

Crustacean life is prolific as are the fish which is why this is the top fishing ground for the local fishermen. The rocks are also a main nesting ground for seabirds with good numbers of razorbill, shag, guillemots and some great black backed gulls. Puffins have bred at Bawden and seem to be just clinging on with occasional birds seen by those lucky enough to be out in boats at the rock.

Many Seasearch surveys around Bawden Rocks over the years allied with fishing records have built up a good record of species to be found there and last year the Porcupine Marine Natural History Society conducted surveys and discovered species not known to exist in the UK including a species of sponge unknown to science.

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