Rockpooling

Rockpooling is all about discovering the joy of small things, getting back to nature and enjoying time together as a family.

As the tide sweeps out, rockpools are left teeming with small-scale wildlife, just waiting to be uncovered. Children love exploring and adults usually find it fascinating, too. From late spring until early autumn, the weather conditions are usually just right to make rockpooling a delight. You need to do it at low tide, because the most interesting rockpools are always closest to the sea. Always keep an eye on tide times, and watch the water as it is easy to lose track of time while investigating nature’s bounty. Rocks can get a little slippery so careful as you go, maybe with some sensible footwear, like wellies.

Remember, rockpooling is about exploring but you need to keep the animals you find safe as part of marine diversity.

Don’t overlook seaweed, and keep your eyes peeled for tiny fish, common shore crabs, starfish and sea anemones. Most rocky shores are also packed with limpets – they can really stick hard to rocks – unlike periwinkles, tiny snails which are readily carried away by waves. Finding a starfish is exciting but they much prefer being in the water, so ‘look don’t touch’ is the watchword. Perhaps the most beautiful are the often very colourful anemones, tentacles swaying in the watery flow. Don’t touch them, though; likewise, jelly fish, as they can sting.

Often, creatures are hiding among the strands of seaweed so check them carefully.

Have you come across a mermaid’s purse? These are the egg cases of sharks and rays. Usually, it is the discarded shells you will find, but sometimes, there may be something inside if you hold it up to the light to see the silhouette.

Before you set off, take a look at this award-winning rockpooling website.

So, what’s stopping you? All you need is a bucket and sharp eyes to discover a whole new world. Hopefully, you will have a camera at the ready, too.

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