What are they?
Mudflats are well named – they are muddy and flat! They are expansive areas of mud which are exposed at low tides and submerged at high tides, making them intertidal habitats.
Mudflats are valuable coastal defences as they dissipate wave energy before it reaches the land, and they are also important fish nurseries for species such as plaice. Threats to this habitat include dredging and development, global sea rises, and chemical pollution. Bacteria found in the mud releases gasses that can be quite pungent at low tides but is completely natural – it smells like rotten eggs!
The Solent coast is packed with mudflats with some of the largest examples in Langstone and Chichester Harbours. In the absence of manmade development, mudflats become saltmarsh as they spread inland.