There’s a fascinating world below the shoreline, just waiting to be discovered. With minimal equipment required, plenty of amazing creatures to find, and very little damage to your wallet, rockpooling is a great way to keep the kids entertained this summer.


How to rockpool

  • Check the tides – rockpooling is best done at low tide to reveal as many places to explore as possible. The closer to the sea you go, the better for finding critters that live deeper underwater.
  • Wear the right clothes – Make sure you’re dressed for the weather (hats and sunscreen if it’s sunny, warm sweaters if it’s windy) and bring waterproof shoes that will protect your feet from sharp rocks.
  • Join a group – If you’re new to rockpooling, join an organised event and let the experts show you the best places to explore. Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Polzeath Marine Conservation Group run regular rockpooling expeditions throughout the year, led by marine experts and National Trust rangers who can help you identify the critters you find.
  • Take your time – Rockpooling takes a bit of patience and you may not find what you’re looking for at a glance. Take the time to look under rocks and between crevices – sea creatures prefer cool, damp places, so carefully lifting stones and seaweed may reveal more than first meets the eye.

Where to rockpool

  • Polzeath Beach – A sandy, westerly facing beach with numerous rock pools around the bay, Polzeath is great for pottering around by yourself or joining one of the Rockpool Ramble (for all ages) events organised by the marine conservation group.
  • Port Isaac Beach – Famous for its association with TV series Doc Martin and The Fishermans Friends, Port Isaac has a historic harbour that serves as a busy port for local fisherman. There are plenty of small crabs to be found in the rock pools around the harbour.
  • Greenaway – The rocky coastline between Polzeath and Daymer Bay is known as Greenaway and it has some of the best rock pools in Cornwall. Be careful not to get caught by the tide!

Creatures to look out for

  • Common prawn – A common rock pool inhabitant, prawns are completely transparent and move very quickly.
  • Pipefish – A long, thin fish that is related to the seahorse.
  • Common blenny – A very common grey/brown fish with a single dorsal fin but can be difficult to see unless it moves because it’s camouflaged against the gravel bottom.
  • Brittlestar – A spiny starfish that has very fragile arms (handle with care!)
  • Sea hare – A type of sea snail (named for its long, ear-like upper head tentacles) that is fond of eating seaweed.
  • Snakelocks anemone – A mass of green tentacles with purple tips – the tentacles sting passing fish and other animals
  • Velvet swimming crab – A small crab with bright red eyes – watch out for the pincers, he’ll give you a nasty nip!
  • Common starfish – These are usually bright orange but can also be purple or brown.


Looking for somewhere to stay in Cornwall? The Point at Polzeath provides an excellent variety of self-catering accommodation, as well as top-quality leisure and golfing facilities. To book your next holiday, contact us today.

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