The joys of rockpooling

Children finding a crab while rockpooling at Poldhu Cove, Cornwall

Rock pools are magical worlds full of alien creatures and a whole range of interesting sights, smells and textures. The fact that they’re sometimes hard to access just adds to the sense of fun and adventure. Kate Martin, one of our area rangers, explains what is so great about rock pools and lets us in on some of her favourite spots.

Make your own rockpooling memories

I have many fond childhood memories of slip-sliding over seaweedy rocks, clutching a bucket in one hand and my mum’s hand in the other, to discover the wonders that lay waiting for us beneath the surface of those silvery pools. What will you find to remember on your expedition?

Get your parents to help

My interest in marine biology started with these rock pool safaris. I was extremely lucky to have a very knowledgeable mum and she in turn got her love of the sea from her father. My granddad was a champion crabber – he could see a beach full of rocks and would always know exactly which one to turn over to expose a scuttling green shore crab or an edible crab.
If your parents don't know as much about rock pools as mine did, then it's definitely worth investing in a spotter sheet, or a guide to rock pools to help you all identify what you find.

Great spots for rockpooling

When I was little, we spent all our holidays in the UK. This gave me the chance to explore rock pools on the coast of Anglesey, Pembrokeshire, Cardigan Bay and the Llyn Peninsula in Wales.
We also visited the coast of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, North Yorkshire and Northumberland and areas of Scotland's coast. I still can’t resist a rock pool - there’s nothing more certain to make me feel like a kid again.

My favourite rockpooling places

Although I’ve lived and visited places all over the UK, my heart belongs to Wales, so most of the places I go rockpooling now are around its stunning coastline. My closest Welsh coastal retreat is Anglesey, and there are some good rock pools to be found at Porth Dafarch and in the secluded coves between Mynachdy and Cemlyn.
A bit further away from my home in the north west of England is Porthdinllaen on the Llyn Peninsula, and I've even done some 'extreme rockpooling' whilst coasteering at Stackpole in Pembrokeshire.

Each pool is unique

Although these are the places I go to most often now I really can’t pick my single favourite rockpooling place. Every rock pool is unique and yet you can visit the same rock pool over and over again and still see something new every time. It’s just a case of heading to the shore, hunting out a pool and having a look – you’re unlikely to be disappointed.