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Our rock pooling guide

Written by Georgia Dawson on

Family rock pooling

When exploring the beautiful Norfolk coast, rock pooling is a fantastic activity for all the family. Discover what lives underneath the splashing waves and get a glimpse into how they live. Some creatures may swim, some may crawl, some may slide – grab a magnifying glass and head out onto the beach.

The best time of year to go rock pooling is between spring and autumn. The weather is (usually!) nice over the summer months and the water tends to be the warmest around September. It is best to go rock pooling on a dry and calm day as this is when the water will be still.

Some of the best beaches for rock pooling in Norfolk are West Runton, Cromer and Sheringham. At low tides, these beaches are brimming with fascinating wildlife. 

Time to go rock pooling…

1.    Check the tide times. The best time to go rock pooling is when the tide is out, revealing amazing rock pools. Low tides tend to occur early morning or late afternoon, so check before your visit. 

2.    Gather your equipment! No special equipment is required for rock pooling, however some comfy shoes with good grip are a good idea when walking on slippery stones. You may like to bring a magnifying glass to spot the tiny creatures. Bringing a bucket will also allow you to see the creatures close up, however make sure to release them back into the rock pool afterwards. Nets aren’t recommended as many sea creatures are small enough to get tangled up in the nets and may get hurt.

3.    The clearest rock pools are the ones closest to the sea edge, so here is the best place to start. Don’t be afraid to get wet as lifting seaweed can uncover the beautiful creatures beneath.

4.    Sit and wait very quietly. Try to avoid casting a shadow over the rock pool as you’ll block the sun and creatures will know you are there. Try placing a bucket in the rock pool and waiting, before lifting and finding out what fascinating creatures have crawled into your bucket.

5.    When rock pooling, look out for serrated wrack, edible winkle, shore crab, common prawn and beadlet anemone. At a very low tide, look out for black squat lobsters, velvet swimming crabs and common hermit crabs. 

6.    After rock pooling, carefully return any creatures and sea water back to the shore. This is their home.

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SALT Journal