Cornwall Living 2018

Guide to rock pooling

Cover your feet, grab a net, and venture into the shallows when the tide has retreated. At first the pools might look empty, but keep still and beneath the water the marine life will soon spring into action. Here are a few watery stars to look out for…

Tompot Blenny

Distinctive red eyes and red tentacles protrude from its head like a stylish hat.


As its name suggests, this fish is long and thin and, like seahorses, the male pipefish carries the young in his brooding pouch.

Velvet Swimming Crab

Bright red eyes, bright blue banding on its legs and covered in dark hairs, this aggressive little creature packs a mean punch with its strong pincers.

Snake-locks Anemone

Bright green with purple tips, this elegant creature has a sting in its tail; its tentacles are used to stun passing fish.

Common Prawn

These are transparent so you can see all their internal organs as they dart around the water in frantic, jerky spasms.

Some of our favourite rock pools

Treyarnon Bay

Recommended by almost everyone with a passion for peering at sea creatures. A wide open bay where at low tide huge rock pools are revealed and the watery shallows are uncovered.

Kennack Sands

Right down on The Lizard, Kennack Sands is not only a popular centre for scuba diving but also a perfect family beach where you’ll find lots of sand, and rock pools aplenty.

Duckpool Beach, near Bude

Dramatically located on the northwest coast, where high cliffs tower over the pebbles; venture to the far end of the beach, where large crabs lie in wait to be discovered in the numerous pools.

Port Isaac

Still a busy port for landing lobster and crab so where better to look for smaller varieties of sea dwellers? Rock pools around the harbour provide a great open-air aquarium.

Gerrans Bay, Portscatho

The whole bay is scattered with tiny rock pools, home to an amazing array of fish, anemones and seaweed. Especially check out Towan Beach, just over a mile west of the village.


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