Category Archives: Events

What to do when Rock pooling is cancelled? Go anyway!

After weeks of storms, the Looe Marine Conservation Group was hoping for a break in the weather for their half-term family rock pool ramble. Unfortunately the Cornish weather had other plans. With gusty winds delivering pulses of the sort of ‘light’ rain that soaks you in seconds, LMCG did the sensible thing and cancelled.

Meanwhile back at Cornish Rock Pools HQ, Junior already had several jumpers, three sets of socks and full waterproofs on and was ready to set off. Some of his friends were also set to join us on Hannafore beach. So, we ignored the cancellation, put our hoods up and set off.

Scooping up another hardy family on our way down the shore, we picked our way down to some gullies sheltered from the wind by large rocks.

“A fish,” Junior shouted. “I don’t know what it is. It looks like a tadpole.”

I made my way over to where the children were gathered.

“I think it might be a clingfish,” Junior explained.

The small dark blob was certainly suckering onto a stone. It was lying very still with its tapering tail curled around its wide head, hoping that it was well enough camouflaged that we couldn’t see it.

Bizarrely, this little fish is known as a Montagu’s sea snail. It has tiny eyes compared to the size of its head and with its fins tucked tight to its body, it does look rather like a tadpole. Under its belly, the fins have evolved to create a sucker that it can use to hold onto rocks, making it ideally suited to life around the shore.

Montagu’s sea snail (Liparis montagui) – a fish despite the name.

Montagu’s sea snails vary enormously in their patterning but have an unmistakeable shape.

In a nearby rock pool I found a group of young Xantho pilipes crabs sheltering under a boulder. These crabs have dense hairs around their back legs and thick-set claws, but their colour varies a lot. This one caught my eye as it was especially beautiful.

A brightly-patterned Xantho pilipes crab.

Most of the dead-looking crabs we find on the beach are empty moults, left behind by a crab that has grown out of its shell. I could tell straight away that this one had not been so lucky.

Dead Xantho pilipes crab being picked clean by Netted dog whelks.

Netted dog whelks are the vultures of the rocky shore. Equipped with long siphons that look like vacuum cleaner attachments, they spend their lives sifting through the sand and hoovering up any dead creatures. When something large like a crab dies, they can scent the food and quickly home in.

Unpleasant though it looks, scavengers play a vital role in any ecosystem, quickly and efficiently breaking down decaying matter. The children had a fascinating time watching the netted dog whelks at work. They wre moving surprisingly quickly, spinning their shells from side to side as they edged into spaces and were clearly competing to get at the best bits of food.

Before long the children had made lots of other finds. Among the tubs were several hermit crabs that had been given names. Junior adopted a lugworm that he found under a large stone and spent a long time watching and trying to photograph it. These worms make burrows in the sand and have a wide circular mouth that gapes open to swallow sediment, from which they filter out their food.

Lugworm with mouth open – photo by Cornish Rock Pools Junior
Junior’s lugworm

The rain had died down over the course of the morning and no-one was rushing to leave. So, after we had carefully said goodbye to all of the animals that the children had been caring for in their tubs, we took a last look around between the rocks.

As always there were plenty of treasures to be found and before long, the tide was turning and lunch was calling.

Green shore urchin.
Long spined sea scorpion
Bootlace worm – these worms are usually several metres long if fully extended but are always quite tangled!
Pheasant shell
Shore rockling (5 bearded) with a hemit crab and a prawn photobombing in the foreground.
Long-clawed porcelain crab
Another prettily patterned juvenile Xannto pilipes crab.

The Looe Marine Conservation Group run rock pooling events during every school holiday through the year and these are only rarely cancelled. There are similar groups all around Cornwall, and some across the border in Devon too. Look out for events near you!

Summer Holiday Marine and Beach Events in Cornwall

Whether you and the children want to try rock pooling, beach cleans, snorkelling or dolphin watching this summer, you’ll find plenty of fabulous family-friendly events all around Cornwall.

Please check the full details on the organiser’s website, including booking requirements, any charges and age restrictions before attending.

Remember to book well in advance if required.

Have fun!

 

Event Date Time Location Info More details…
Polzeath Rock Pool Ramble 12 July 10.15am – 12.30pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL National Trust
Rockpool Expedition and Picnic 14 July 11.30am – 2.00pm Nr Porthcothan BOOKING ESSENTIAL Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Seaweed Search 15 July 12.00 – 2.30pm Prisk Cove, Mawnan Smith Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Durgan Beach Clean 15 July 2.00pm – 4.00pm Bosveal NT Car Park National Trust
Snorkel Safari 15 July 2.00pm – 5.00pm Little Fistral, Newquay CONTACT ORGANISER Newquay Marine Group
Polzeath Rock Pool Ramble 17 July 2.30pm – 4.45pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Snorkel Safari and Barbecue 17 July 6.00pm – 8.00pm Gyllingvase Beach, Falmouth BOOK TICKETS, Over 9s only. Falmouth Marine Group
Polzeath Beach Clean 18 July 9.30am Polzeath Polzeath Marine Group
Polzeath Marine Crafts 25 July 10.30am – 12.30pm Polzeath Marine Centre £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Polzeath Rock Pool Ramble 26 July 10.15am – 12.30pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Radical Rockpooling 29 July 11.45am – 2.00pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL. Over 11s only Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Seaquest Seawatch – watching for dolphins etc. 30 July 11.00am – 1.00pm Lizard Point Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Sunset Session Boat Trip – Wildlife Watching 30 July 6.30pm – 8.30pm Newquay Cornwall Wildife Trust
Seaquest Seawatch – watching for dolphins etc. 31 July 11.00am – 1.00pm St Agnes Head NCI Station Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Polzeath Rock Pool Ramble 31 July 1.15pm – 3.30pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Paddle for Plastic Kayak Adventure 31 July 2.00pm – 5.00pm Lizard area BOOKING ESSENTIAL. Cornwall residents only. Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Seaquest Seawatch – watching for dolphins etc. 1 Aug 11.00am – 1.00pm Towan Headland, Newquay Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Polzeath Marine Crafts 1 Aug 10.30am – 12.30pm Polzeath Marine Centre £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Sandymouth rock pool ramble 1 Aug 1.30pm – 3.00pm Sandymouth  £1 per person. Check booking details with organiser National Trust
Looe Summer Snorkel 1 Aug 4.00pm -6.00pm Hannafore, Looe BOOKING ESSENTIAL. 9-24 year olds only. Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Seaquest Seawatch – watching for dolphins etc. 2 Aug 11.00am – 1.00pm The Rumps, Pentire Headland Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Polzeath Rock Pool Ramble 2 Aug 2.15pm – 4.30pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Seaquest Seawatch – watching for dolphins etc. 3 Aug 11.00am – 1.00pm Hella Point, Porthgwarra Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Polzeath Beach Clean 3 Aug 9.30am Polzeath Polzeath Marine Group
Rock Pool Explorer 3 Aug 15.00 – 17.00 St Michael’s Mount Check booking requirements with organiser. National Trust
Beach Clean 4 Aug 10.00 – 11.00 Hemmick Beach, Roseland National Trust
Strandline Treasures and Sand Sculpture Competition 4 Aug 1.00pm – 3.00pm Nr Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Seaquest Sunday – watch for dolphins etc 5 Aug 11.00am – 1.00pm Pendennis Head Falmouth Marine Group
Learn to Snorkel in a Rock Pool 6 Aug 3.00pm – 5.00pm Bude BOOKING ESSENTIAL Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Porthcurnick beach clean 6 Aug 10.00am – 11.00am Porthcurnick, Roseland National Trust
Pendower beach clean 6 Aug 2.00pm – 3.30pm Pendower, Roseland National Trust
Marine Litter Masterpieces 7 Aug 10.00am – 12.00 midday Marazion Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Crazy About Crabbing 8 Aug 09.15 – 11.30 Mevagissey Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Polzeath Marine Crafts 8 Aug 10.30am – 12.30pm Polzeath Marine Centre £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Seal Squad XP Roadshow Festival 8 Aug and 9 Aug 11.00am – 4.00pm Geevor Tin Mine Included in entry to Geevor Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Polzeath Rock Pool Ramble 9 Aug 9.15am – 11.30 am Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL National Trust
Extreme Rock Pooling 10 Aug 10.00am – 1.00pm Port Isaac BOOKING ESSENTIAL Cornish residents and over 8s only £36 per person Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Rockpool Explorer 10 Aug 10.00am -12.00 midday St Michael’s Mount Check booking requirements with organiser National Trust
Rockpool ramble 10 Aug 10.45am – 12.45am Readymoney Cove, Fowey £1.50 for non-members of Friends of Fowey Estuary Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Night time rock pooling 10 Aug 9.00pm – 11.00pm Gyllingvase, Falmouth BOOKING ESSENTIAL Falmouth Marine Group
Porth Beach Clean 11 Aug 10.00am – 1.00pm Porth, Newquay Newquay Marine Group
Rockpool Ramble 12 Aug 11.30am – 1.30pm Porthlevan BOOKING ESSENTIAL, Over 6s only Cornwall Wildlife Trust
An introduction to the rock pools 12 Aug 11.00am – 1.00pm Hannafore, Looe BOOKING ESSENTIAL Cornwall Wildlife Trust

wildlifewatch@cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk

National Marine Week Summer Holiday Rockpool Ramble 12 Aug 12.30pm – 2.00pm Hannafore Looe Looe Marine Conservation Group
Polzeath Rock Pool Ramble 12 Aug 11.45am – 2.00pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Newquay Summer Snorkel 12 Aug 2.00pm – 4.00pm Little Fistral, Newquay Check booking arrangements with organiser. 11+ only Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Polzeath Rock Pool Ramble 14 Aug 1.15pm – 3.30pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Polzeath Marine Crafts 15 Aug 10.30am – 12.30pm Polzeath Marine Centre £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Sandymouth Summer Rock Pool Ramble 15 Aug 1.00pm – 3.00pm Sandymouth  £1 per person. Check details with organiser National Trust
Polzeath Rock Pool Ramble 16 Aug 2.30pm – 4.45pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Rockpool Explorer 17 Aug 3.00pm – 5.00pm St Michael’s Mount Check booking arrangements with organiser National Trust
Sunset Beach Clean 18 Aug 7.00pm – 8.00pm Harlyn Bay
Rockpool Explorer 17 Aug 3.00pm – 5.00pm St Michael’s Mount Check booking arrangements with organiser National Trust
Fowey Marine Day 21 Aug 10.00am – 2.00pm Town Quay, Fowey Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Summer Sunset Beach Clean 21 Aug 7.00pm -8.00pm Trevone Bay Beach Guardian
Polzeath Marine Crafts 22 Aug 10.30am – 12.30pm Polzeath Marine Centre £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Rock Pool Explorer 24 Aug 10.00am – 12.00 midday St Michael’s Mount Check booking arrangements with organiser National Trust
Polzeath Rockpool Ramble 24 Aug 10.15am – 12.30pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL National Trust
Polzeath Marine Crafts 29 Aug 10.30am – 12.30pm Polzeath Marine Centre £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Summer Rock Pool Ramble at Sandymouth 29 Aug 1.00pm – 3.00pm Sandymouth  £1 per person. Check booking details with organiser National Trust
Rockpool ramble 30 Aug 1.30pm – 3.30pm Nr. Mawnan Smith BOOKING ESSENTIAL Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Polzeath Rock Pool Ramble 31 Aug 1.45pm – 4.00pm Polzeath BOOKING ESSENTIAL £2 per person Polzeath Marine Group
Rockpool Explorer 31 Aug 3.00pm – 5.00pm St Michael’s Mount Check booking arrangements with organiser National Trust
Hemmick beach clean 1 Sep 10.00am – 11.00am Hemmick beach, Roseland National Trust
Seaquest Sunday – Looking for dolphins etc. 2 Sep 11.00am – 1.00pm Pendennis Head, Falmouth Falmouth Marine Group
Porthcurnick beach clean 3 Sep 10.00 – 11.00 Porthcurnick beach, Roseland National Trust
Pendower beach 3 Sep 2.00pm – 3.30pm Pendower beach, Roseland National Trust

If you know of any other summer beach events in Cornwall this summer, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

Rock Pooling at Coverack with Wildlife Watch

The sun breaks through the cloud as the first children arrive. It’s a perfect day for a Wildlife Watch expedition and although I don’t know the beach at Coverack well, a quick paddle in the rippling shallows has already yielded sand eels, an attractive pink thin tellin shell and plenty of shore crabs so it’s shaping up well.

Lesser sand eel - being dark on top and light underneath makes it harder for predators to spot them in the water.
Lesser sand eel – being dark on top and light underneath makes it harder for predators to spot them in the water.

I always look forward to meeting my Wildlife Watch groups and this one doesn’t disappoint. My assistant, Vicky, does a fabulous job of welcoming everyone and helping set up and the children are enthusiastic and curious, raring to get stuck in. It’s especially good to see how well the kids care for the animals, making sure they have enough water in their tubs, replacing any stones and seaweed they move and not detaching animals that might get damaged like anemones and limpets.

One lad is particularly adventurous and knowledgeable, so we have fun investigating a gully between two huge rocks. We find the inner face of one rock is covered in a massive sheet of breadcrumb sponge and there are especially large strawberry anemones in the pool beneath. My new friend stays there trying to catch an elusive fish while I help others identify creatures.

Soon, the finds are coming in to our makeshift shore laboratory. Glittering sand eels, a feisty velvet swimming crab with devilish red eyes, a whole troop of hermit crabs and colourful brittle stars which we watch walking on their long arms.

A lovely baby hermit crab with green eyes (Pagurus bernhardus) has a go at pinching my fingers.
A lovely baby hermit crab with green eyes (Pagurus bernhardus) has a go at pinching my fingers.

My new friend comes over with a shore crab. He’s learned that they keep their eggs under their tails and is excited to find one he thinks is in berry. He seems disappointed when I reveal that, although she has something under there, it’s not eggs. But this is something far more exciting. It’s a parasitic barnacle, Sacculina carcini, which I’ve been searching for and never seen. The yellow mass under the crab’s tail is the barnacle’s fruiting body, the barnacle’s eggs – not the crab’s.

This green shore crab has a yellow lump under her tail - the parasitic barnacle Sacculina carcini
This green shore crab has a yellow lump under her tail – the parasitic barnacle Sacculina carcini

Unfortunately for the crab, once it is infected it can no longer moult and grow or lay eggs. The barnacle will take a lot of energy from the crab as it spreads through its body. It can even trick male crabs into behaving like females to ensure that they will successfully release the barnacle’s young when the eggs are ready to hatch. It’s amazing to see, even if it’s not good news for the crab.

The yellow lump under the tail contains the eggs of the parasitic barnacle which has infested the crab.
The yellow lump under the tail contains the eggs of the parasitic barnacle which has infested the crab.

As always, I get more than a little distracted doing my own rock pooling. I can’t help myself. I briefly feel guilty that I’m not available enough to the children while I’m crawling about among the slippery boulders, but then I spot a miniscule thing moving on the rock and it has my entire attention.

The thing looks like a tiny lobster. I scramble to grab a suitable pot and when I look back at the rock I can’t see it any more. I stare at the area where I saw it but it’s just not there. I look all around the surface of the rock in vain, gently tip a little sea water down it to see if anything moves but I’m scared I might wash it off accidentally.

When I finally relocate my mini crustacean, it is nearly at the edge. With a lot of care and determination, I succeed in catching it in my pot. It’s only about 5mm long, but seems to be a tiny squat lobster, the smallest I’ve ever seen.

Tiny squat lobster about 5mm long (Galathea sp.) at Coverack, Lizard
Tiny squat lobster about 5mm long (Galathea sp.) at Coverack, Lizard

Back at the trays, we all gather round to take a close look at all the animals and learn about their lives and strange habits. We have a fabulous diversity of creatures to watch before they’re returned to the shore.

I slip my baby squat lobster into a petri dish to take some photos. It looks a bit strange, as though something has got caught on its back legs. When I look a couple of minutes later, the thing that’s stuck to it has grown. It’s hard to see as the whole animal is only a few millimetres long, but when the ‘thing’ comes away I’m in no doubt. The squat lobster is growing and has just shed its old skin.

Moult of the squat lobster - the animal has moved out of its old shell so that it can grow.
Moult of the squat lobster – the animal has moved out of its old shell so that it can grow.

The old carapace is an exact replica of the animal, only colourless and transparent. As the new, soft shell of the squat lobster begins to harden it seems to grow before our eyes.

The freshly moulted squat lobster (Galathea sp.) showing off some very hairy claws. Coverack, Cornwall.
The freshly moulted squat lobster (Galathea sp.) showing off some very hairy claws. Coverack, Cornwall.

It’s something I’ve never seen before. It’s what’s so special about events like this. Even though I’m here to help others learn and see new things, I’ve seen something new myself.

If you’d like to come to a Wildlife Watch event with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust this summer, you’ll need to book quickly as they are filling up. Find the whole list on the Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s website. Maybe I’ll see you there?

A beautiful live thin tellin shell - one of many lovely finds at Coverack
A beautiful live thin tellin shell – one of many lovely finds at Coverack

Necklace shell at Coverack, found by my Wildlife Watch group.
Necklace shell at Coverack, found by my Wildlife Watch group.

Summer Holiday Rock Pooling Events in Cornwall – The Full List

Here it is… the 2017 list of summer rockpooling events in Cornwall during the holidays. It’s the best ever, with events to suit all the family!

Take a look below to see what’s on near you. There’s no better way to make the most of your rock pooling than to join the experts to find amazing marine creatures and learn all about them.

All you need are: some sturdy rockpooling shoes like wellies, neoprene beach shoes or wetsuit boot (not flip flops or crocs); a bucket, and sun protection.

Please check the organiser’s page carefully for the exact details and any alterations. You will need to book in advance for some of these events.

 Happy rockpooling! Maybe see you there?

FRIDAY 28TH JULY, 14.00-16.00, St Michael’s Mount. Rockpool Explorer with the National Trust https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/795f56c8-54f5-4205-acde-482402421940/pages/details

SUNDAY 6TH AUGUST, 10.00 – 12.00, St Michael’s Mount. Rockpool Explorer with the National Trust (Scroll to the bottom of the following web page for this date) https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/795f56c8-54f5-4205-acde-482402421940/pages/details

MONDAY 7TH AUGUST, 12.00 – 13.30, Northcott, Bude. Hurray for Honeycomb with Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Meet at Northcott Mouth National Trust car park, Bude http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2017/01/06/hurray-honeycomb?instance=0

TUESDAY 8TH AUGUST, 11.30 – 13.30. Polzeath. Rockpool Ramble with Polzeath Marine Conservation Group and the National Trust, BOOKING ESSENTIAL https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/4d6bf7a6-558b-4e53-b1c1-3929cec9591e/pages/details

WEDNESDAY 9TH AUGUST, 11.00 – 13.00. Mousehole. St Piran’s Crab Search with Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Mousehole (Meet in Car Park, The Parade, by The Rock Pool Café) http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2017/01/06/st-pirans-crab-search?instance=0

THURSDAY 10TH AUGUST, 13.00 – 15.00. Falmouth Harbour. Horrible Beasts Up the Creek. With Cornwall Wildlife Trust. BOOKING ESSENTIAL – Falmouth – location provided on booking. http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2017/01/06/horrible-beasts-creek?instance=0

THURSDAY 10TH AUGUST, 13.00 – 15.00 Lantivet Bay. Rockpooling with the National Trust. Free no booking required https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/0916c2da-8026-4e5e-a507-5d6c413e46a0/pages/details

FRIDAY 11TH AUGUST, 13.00 – 15.00. Marazion. Strandline Scramble – looking for creatures washed up by the tide. With Cornwall Wildlife Trust. BOOKING ESSENTIAL http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2017/01/06/strandline-scramble?instance=0

FRIDAY 11TH AUGUST, 14.00-16.00. St Michael’s Mount Causeway. Rockpool Explorer with the National Trust. (Scroll to the bottom of the following web page for this date) https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/795f56c8-54f5-4205-acde-482402421940/pages/details

SATURDAY 12TH AUGUST, 14.30 – 16.00. Hannafore, Looe. Rock Pool Ramble with Looe Marine Conservation Group http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2016/12/23/summer-holiday-rockpool-ramble?instance=0

MONDAY 14TH AUGUST, 15.00 – 17.00 Polzeath, Rock Pooling and Beach Games with Wild Thymes. BOOKING ESSENTIAL http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2017/01/26/rock-pooling-and-beach-fun-wild-thymes?instance=0

SATURDAY 19TH AUGUST, 21.30 – 23.30. Durgan. Night Time Rock Pooling with Cornwall Wildlife Trust. BOOKING ESSENTIAL – No children under 12. http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2017/01/06/night-rockpooling?instance=0

SUNDAY 20TH AUGUST, 10.00-12.00. St Michael’s Mount Causeway. Rockpool Explorer with the National Trust. (Scroll to the bottom of the following web page for this date) https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/795f56c8-54f5-4205-acde-482402421940/pages/details

MONDAY 21ST AUGUST, 11.00-13.00. Polzeath. Rockpool Ramble with Polzeath Marine Conservation Group and National Trust. BOOKING ESSENTIAL (Scroll to the bottom of the page for this date) https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/4d6bf7a6-558b-4e53-b1c1-3929cec9591e/pages/details

TUESDAY 22ND AUGUST, 11.00 – 13.00. Polzeath. Radical Rockpooling with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Polzeath Marine Conservation Group. BOOKING ESSENTIAL – Children over 11 only. http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2017/01/26/radical-rock-pooling?instance=0

WEDNESDAY 23RD AUGUST, 11.00 – 13.00. Hannafore, Looe. Rockpool Safari Time with Fox Club, Junior branch of Cornwall Wildlife Trust. BOOKING ESSENTIAL http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2017/01/05/rockpool-safari-time?instance=0

WEDNESDAY 23RD AUGUST, 12.30 – 14.30. Camel (Location available on booking). Rockpool Ramble with Fox Club, Junior branch of Cornwall Wildlife Trust. BOOKING ESSENTIAL http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2017/04/20/rockpool-ramble?instance=0

THURSDAY 24TH AUGUST, 13.00 – 15.00. Polzeath. Rock Pool Ramble with Polzeath Marine Conservation Group BOOKING ESSENTIAL  http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/events/2017/01/26/rock-pool-ramble?instance=4

FRIDAY 25TH AUGUST, 14.00-16.00. St Michael’s Mount Causeway. Rockpool Explorer with the National Trust. (Scroll to the bottom of the following web page for this date) https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/795f56c8-54f5-4205-acde-482402421940/pages/details

Can’t see your event? Please let me know of any additions or alterations to this list and I’ll be delighted to share them.

February Half Term Rock Pooling in Cornwall

February is an amazing time in the Cornish rock pools. Spring is coming and all sorts of fish, sea slugs and other creatures are moving onto the shore. Rock pooling is free, fun and exciting for all ages, so why not wrap up warm this half-term and head for the beach?

When?

There are some great low tides on Saturday 11th, Sunday 12th and Monday 13th February around lunch time. Check the tide times for your local area before you go.

Aim to start one to two hours before low tide as it’s safest to rock pool on an outgoing tide. Keep an eye out for the tide and always stay away from surging waves.

Join a Guided Event

Looe Marine Conservation Group will be running a free rockpooling event at Hannafore Beach, West Looe, on Wednesday 15th February at 13.30. All welcome!

Joining a guided event is the very best way to discover marine wildlife. Experts (including me!) will be on hand to help you find and identify the crabs, fish, shells, starfish and more. At the end of the session you’ll be able to meet everyone’s best finds in the ‘Shore Laboratory’ and find out how the animals live and how to conserve them.

(If anyone know of any other rock pooling events on this half-term, please let me know and I’ll list them here).

Cornish Rock Pools - spider crab at Looe rockpool ramble
Cornish Rock Pools – spider crab at Looe rockpool ramble

Where?

Any beach with some sheltered rockpools will do. There are lots all around Cornwall – some of my favourites can be found under the beaches tab at the top of this page.

What to do…

The shore can be very exposed, so make sure you’re well wrapped up and waterproofed. Your feet will get wet so wellies are essential.

Otherwise, all you need is a tub and/or bucket (please don’t use nets as these harm delicate animals). A camera and species guide are useful.

Head for the lower shore (keeping a safe distance from the sea’s edge) and go slowly, looking in shaded, wet areas like pools.

Under rocks and seaweed are great places to look, but move them gently and always return them to how you found them.

Read my guide to rockpooling to discover how to find lots of amazing creatures and keep them and you safe. You can also find out how to pick up a crab.

What you might find…

Even in the depths of winter the rock pools are full of life. In February spring is just round the corner and lots of animals will be moving in for the breeding season.

Expect to see crabs, fish, anemones, sea snails, prawns, starfish and perhaps even a sea slug – these little creatures come in an amazing variety of shapes and colours.

Facelina annulicornis- a rather lovely sea slug
Facelina annulicornis- a rather lovely sea slug

To help you identify your finds, I’ve produced guides to crabs, fish, starfish and shells.

If you need help identifying something, take a photo if possible and get in touch through my contact page, Facebook or Twitter. I love seeing your finds.

Happy Half-Term Rockpooling!

Strawberry anemones on a partly submerged rock
Strawberry anemones on a partly submerged rock

 

 

 

 

A guided rockpooling tour

We all love spending time with likeminded people, don’t we? So, when a keen diver from Newquay contacts me to request a guided rockpooling tour, I can’t resist. Unusually for a bank holiday weekend, the sun pushes the clouds away and leaves behind a perfect, calm shore ready for us to explore.

We’ve barely known each other a minute before we’re enthusing about the joys of going slowly and taking the time to look for underwater life. We discover our shared love of nudibranchs (sea slugs – read on, they’re lovely, really!). I assure my new friend that we’ll find plenty of wildlife, including some species few divers ever see, and all with minimum kit, no buoyancy control and a limitless supply of air.

The underside of a painted top shell showing the mother-of-pearl lining
The underside of a painted top shell showing the mother-of-pearl lining

Despite being familiar with edible crabs and velvet swimming crabs from diving, there are several species of intertidal crabs that are new to my guest. Continue reading A guided rockpooling tour

A perfect rockpool ramble in Looe

Friday was the ideal day for a Cornish rockpool ramble with warm weather and calm conditions. Over a hundred people joined the Looe Marine Conservation Group rockpool event and I’m sure other rockpooling sessions around the Cornwall were similarly well attended. (Here’s a list of what’s on this summer).

Learning about crabs with a Looe Marine Conservation Group volunteer
Learning about crabs with a Looe Marine Conservation Group volunteer

Continue reading A perfect rockpool ramble in Looe