Top tips for playing safe at the coast

Man holding a crab in front of boy over pockpool

Our coastline is a great place to explore with plenty to see and do but caution needs to be taken to enjoy it safely and responsibly. Here are our top tips for playing safe at the coast.

Saltmarshes and creeks

Saltmarshes look easy to explore, but are in fact broken up and divided by creeks. At low tide, these creeks can be great mucky places to play - make mud pies, track bird prints and dig for lugworms. But as the tide rises, the creeks fill with water. Please read all the safety signs before setting out, to help you stay safe.

Brancaster Staithe
Brancaster Staithe


Did you know that there are two high tides and two low tides every 24 hours, at about six hour intervals? The time of high tide changes slightly each day and is different at each place along the coast. We recommend that you either buy a printed tide table or check to plan the best time to enjoy your activities. The height of the high tide is also important and changes each day. The largest tides can flood car parks, access roads, paths and some bridges, as well as the surrounding saltmarsh.

Brancaster Staithe Harbour
Brancaster Staithe Harbour


If you’re digging for lugworms at low tide (look for the piles of curly sand), hunting for sandhoppers along the strandline on the beach or catching creepy crawlies at Friary Hills, please remember to be gentle – take a look before you touch and always return the bugs to their home. Caught a crab? If you’re planning on holding the “scary” beast, grip it from behind so the large front pincers can’t get you!

Hunt for bugs
Children looking at creatures captured in pots

Wellies or jellies?

If you’re exploring the creeks or mudflats, wellies are good until they overtop with water or mud - which is what we would expect if you’re really having fun. If it’s warm enough we would recommend old trainers, wetsuit shoes or plastic “jellies”. Or check what’s ahead of you and go barefoot!

Everyone likes to be beside the sea, or in it
A woman and child wearing wellies paddle in the waves Durham Coast