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Rock Pooling

June 8, 2015 No Comments


Rock pooling is part of a quintessential Cornish beach holiday. It’s one step away from the stereotype of knotted hankies and rolled up trousers. In fact, as I get older I find myself going for the rolled up trouser look more and more on the beach. I’m also fascinated with the life that’s found in the crags and hollows that are left by the retreating tides along the Cornish coastlines.

When the tide is low it’s possible to peer into the small pools of water along the rocky shore line and find a whole manner of things lurking beneath the seaweeds. Each pool is a microcosm of marine life, teeming with shrimp, crabs, molluscs and other sea-life.

The living conditions in rock pools are ever changing, so the creatures that live there have to be pretty hardy: the water temperature is constantly fluctuating as the sun heats it through the day and high tide washes in the cold; the oxygen level of the water depletes; and then there’s the incoming tide coming in to shake the whole thing up.

All you really need to rock pool is a bucket, net, wellies and a little bit of patience. When peering into the (not so) murky (and not so deep) depths, they may at first appear empty. But I assure you star fish are clinging to the rocks, crabs are slaloming through the seaweed and transparent prawns are bobbing around the kelp forests.

There are loads of great places to go rock pooling in Cornwall. Godrevy Has an abundance of shallow waters, as does Kennack Sands down The Lizard, but one of our favourites, and one very close to a lot of our Cornish Holiday Cottages, is the wide expanse from Castle Beach, around Gyllyngvase and through to Swanpool Beach. When the tide is out there’s close to a mile of gullies, pools and puddles to explore.

Here are a few of the things to look out for as you explore:



Starfish, Sea Urchins and Brittlestars – these striking creatures are symmetrical with arms radiating out from a central body


Sea Squirts

These creatures are characterised by their soft bodies and can be seen attached to rocks on lower shores.


Sea Anenomes

Another soft bodied creature which can be found attached to rocks.



There are 4 main types of crab you may see – Shore, Hermit, Velvet Swimming and Edible crab. Also look out for shrimps and barnacles.



These include sea slugs, mussels and limpets whose shell resembles a Chinese hat!


Shore fish

Keep an eye out for blenny and goby, often seen darting around rockpools. You’ll have to be quick to catch one!