Exploring rock pools on the fore shore is something that seems like all of us did as children. To experience a world and habitat that is completely new and at the same time incredibly beautiful. It’s a fleeting moment between the tides that allows us to see into an environment that is hard to see otherwise. The beauty of it is that with each tide that environment and the inhabitants of it change.
Rockpooling appeals to both young and old with an appetite to look through a window into an underwater world. Cornwall has more than it’s fair share of beaches to get involved too and best of all you don’t need anything to get started, just a little patience and a keen eye.
Before you do venture out onto the rock however take note of the tides. There are many beaches where if you spend too much time looking down at the pools you risk being cut off by the tide, which can rise quickly in places. Check the tide times before you leave and leave yourself plenty of time to stay safe.
That being said, what sort of sea life can you expect to see in the rock pools around Cornwall, here are a few highlights to keep an eye out for.
Cornwall Rockpool Wildlife
Crabs: There are a few kinds of crabs you can expect to find in rock pools there are the more common species such as the Shore Crab to a species everyone is familiar with like the Hermit Crab. You may also find Velvet crabs and Porcelain crabs.
Fish: There are species of fish that have evolved specifically to live in rock pools and the lower tidal zones. The Tompot Blenny blends in perfectly with the rocks and weed and feeds on small crustaceans and anemones. You may also see some fish like the Pipefish that look similar to seahorses with the distinctive “snouts”.
Molluscs: There is a wide range of molluscs in Cornwalls rock pools. Species that almost everyone are familiar with such as Limpets, Periwinkles and Mussels. You may also spot species slightly less familiar such as Sea Slugs.
Anemones and Starfish: The Snakelocks Anemone is particularly beautiful with it’s green and pink tentacles swaying back and forth in the water. There are also a number of species of starfish to be seen moving around in the rockpools.
Where To Go Rock Pooling in Cornwall
There are so many beaches in Cornwall that you’ll be able to find some rock pools to explore. In almost all areas of the region there will be at least one or two places to go, in most cases you can ask locally and be pointed in the right direction.
There are a few beaches however that we like and some have huge areas of rockpools to explore, if you are making a trip to the beach specifically to find rock pools then here are our picks of the bunch.
Falmouth Bay: Swanpool – Gylly Beach – Castle Beach
All of the area surrounding Gyllyngvase Beach and Swanpool is good for rock pooling. Once the tide starts dropping pretty much all of the tidal zone is made up of rock and there are some really large pools left at low tide.
There is plenty of wildlife in these pools throughout the year and the beaches themselves are sandy and great for swimming so once you’ve explored the tidal pools you can relax on the beach with an ice cream.
Tucked away down on the Lizard Peninsula, Kennack Sands is one of my favourite beaches. Once the tide drops the whole right hand side of the beach is revealed and there are plenty of rock pools to explore. There is also a hill in the middle of the beach that has numerous pools.
Kennack Sands offers a little of something for everyone, long stretches of golden sand surrounded by rock pools on each side and when the conditions are right some surfing can be had too.
Treyarnon Bay Beach
On the north coast Treyarnon Bay Beach is popular with families and holiday makers. There is a large expanse of sand but the surrounding rocks offer up some rock pools. There is even a natural tidal swimming pool but it gets fairly busy in the summer. Still there are plenty of nooks and smaller pools to explore on the other coves in this bay.